Ellijay banker convicted of fraud

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The former vice president of Appalachian Community Bank in Ellijay, Ga., has been found guilty of a fraud that forced the bank into receivership in 2010.

A federal jury convicted William R. "Rusty" Beamon of five counts of bank fraud, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office in Atlanta.

According the release,Beamon was in charge of Appalachian's foreclosure liquidation department.
In 2009, he told a real estate agent that he owned a house in Cumming, Ga. He hired the agent to market and lease the property on his behalf. In fact, the bank owned the property, which was in foreclosure, the release stated.

The agent found someone who leased the property and Beamon pocketed more than $20,000 in rent payments and security deposits. Beamon also caused Appalachian to sell bank-owned properties to his wife and to a shell company that he owned-all at prices that were substantially below what other buyers were willing and able to pay, the release stated. ready, willing, and able to pay the bank.

"Beamon's greed and self-dealing at the expense of the bank left holes in the bank's books that the bank tried to fill when it applied for [Troubled Asset Relief Program] funds," said Christy Romero, special inspector general for TARP.

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said Georgia led the nation in bank failures since 2008, with 88 banks failing, including Appalachian Community Bank.

"These failures have significantly affected the economy, making these cases important to safeguard the nation's financial health," Yates said in the release.

J. Britt Johnson, special agent in charge of the FBI's Atlanta Field Office, said: "Bank fraud comes in many forms but when it comes in the form of the bank's own vice president, it becomes all the more intolerable. Mr. Beamon, as a banking executive, should have protected his bank and its assets from fraud but instead he saw an opportunity to enrich his own bank account. The federal sentencing handed down to Mr. Beamon will be not only the closing note to one man's banking career but also to the bank that he caused to fail."

Sentencing has not yet been scheduled.