Total of Standridge's Alleged Crimes Still Not Clear

by Gwen Moritz  on Friday, Aug. 10, 2012 1:24 pm  

The 12-count indictment against former Mount Ida insurance agent Steve Standridge sheds little new light on the web of financial shenanigans first revealed by state regulators in March 2010.

A federal grand jury in Little Rock indicted Standridge on Wednesday, accusing him of one count of conspiring to commit bank fraud, four counts of aiding and abetting bank fraud, one count of bank fraud, five counts of money laundering and one count of making a false statement to a financial institution.

The indictment does not indicate the total amount of money Standridge allegedly received through fraudulent means.

The final charge, of making a false statement, accuses Standridge of forging a subordination agreement "which purported to release First Service Bank's security interest in the assets of Steve Standridge Insurance Inc." in order to clear the path for a loan from Chambers Bank of Danville.

Chambers Bank had referred to the alleged forgery when it sued its insurance carrier last year. In April 2009, according to Chambers Bank's complaint against St. Paul Mercury Insurance Co., Standridge wanted to borrow $10 million so he could buy back stock in Steve Standridge Insurance Inc. that was owned by Broad Street Capital, the lawsuit said.

Most of the charges accuse Standridge, 55, of working with two of his customers, Gregory A. Hunt of Russellville and Danny Wood of Idabel, Okla., to borrow money ostensibly to pay the premiums on insurance policies that were never issued or were promptly canceled.

Wood waived indictment and pleaded guilty on March 2 to a single count of aiding and abetting bank fraud. He was sentenced July 6 to 30 months in federal prison and is scheduled to report to the Bureau of Prisons on Aug. 20, according to his lawyer, Jeff Potts of Muskogee, Okla.

Hunt similarly pleaded guilty on June 6 to a single count of aiding and abetting bank fraud, and he is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 1.

Hunt admitted that he participated in obtaining a fraudulent premium finance loan from Chambers Bank of Danville that cost the bank more than $1.3 million. Wood admitted participating in fraudulent loans that cost Chambers Bank almost $3.2 million and the Bank of Delight $125,000.

Hunt and Wood admitted to crimes that occurred in August 2009. But the eight-page indictment against Standridge said his crimes began in November 2008 and continued through February 2010 - just before the Arkansas Insurance Department issued an emergency suspension of his license. The indictment says Standridge conspired with Wood, Hunt and "others known and unknown to the Grand Jury."



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