Feds Studying Suspect Paperwork Tied to One Bank

by George Waldon  on Monday, Mar. 25, 2013 12:00 am  

Federal investigators are sorting through suspect documents gathered in an ongoing criminal probe of former executives at Little Rock’s One Bank & Trust.

Officials at Hydco Inc., a North Little Rock general contracting firm, and the Little Rock architectural firm of Witsell Evans & Rasco are among those who have been questioned about alleged work done for the $439.7 million-asset lender.

Sources indicate the companies had no record of the jobs and didn’t collect any money for the purported work. The paperwork is linked with an alleged scheme by former One Bank executives to cover financial chicanery.

The billing falsely attributed to Witsell Evans & Rasco was associated with phantom work on One Bank’s suite at Verizon Arena.

It’s unclear what property was associated with the alleged Hydco paperwork. Company officials declined comment.

So far, the most detailed glimpse into the criminal investigation has come through a Feb. 22 lawsuit filed by One Bank against Hunter Stuart, a former vice president. He is the son of the bank’s controlling shareholder, Layton “Scooter” Stuart, who was fired in September by the board of directors on the order of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

The bank sued Hunter Stuart to recover more than $1 million in allegedly misappropriated funds.

The case in Pulaski County Circuit Court alleges unjust enrichment and conversion of bank funds in connection with the purchase of a $450,000 home in March 2009 and its subsequent renovation. The 5,300-SF residence is near the entry to Pleasant Valley Country Club in west Little Rock.

A building permit indicating a value of $200,000 was taken out for the renovation work on April 17, 2009. Wagner Construction Services LLC of Cabot was the contractor on the project. Rodney Wagner, the company’s namesake owner, had no comment regarding the job.

Public records indicate work on the house either was never completed or never received final inspection, although it has been occupied for months.

One Bank funds used to buy the house and remodel it reportedly were portrayed in its records as costs associated with improvements at two leased Little Rock branches.

The value of those phantom improvements at 15721 Chenal Parkway and 8000 Cantrell Road was allocated to “Value of Premises & Fixed Assets” on the bank’s balance sheet.



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