Rickenbach Indictment Reveals More Details of One Bank Under Scooter Stuart

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Apr. 14, 2014 12:00 am  

Gary Rickenbach

You probably heard that One Bank & Trust’s foolhardy loan of $1.5 million to a Florida penny-stock operator resulted in a federal criminal indictment of former EVP Gary Rickenbach.

What you don’t know is that this second indictment associated with the loan brings new revelations about the management mess at the Little Rock bank under the ownership of the late Layton “Scooter” Stuart.

• The April 2 indictment, which charges Rickenbach with conspiracy to defraud the government and conspiracy to commit money laundering, suggests that he may have personally invested in a company controlled by Alberto Solaroli just weeks before he arranged the $1.5 million line of credit to Solaroli in April 2007.

• For the first time, federal prosecutors alleged that executives misled the U.S. Treasury about One Bank's financial condition when applying for the $17.3 million in TARP funds that were received in June 2009.

• The Rickenbach indictment also describes an alleged co-conspirator never before identified in government documents or news accounts of the meltdown at One Bank: "Co-conspirator Z,” whose description matches G. Robert Hardin, a North Little Rock attorney who was outside counsel to One Bank, which does business as Onebanc.

“Z,” who has not been charged, created two business entities (Ox Investments LLC and Financial One Leasing) and reanimated a third (Crestwood Investment LLC) to which Rickenbach and other One Bank executives allegedly made loans in order to hide the loss associated with the Solaroli line of credit.

The indictment says Z/Hardin created the entities after meeting with Rickenbach and another co-conspirator (identified only as “B”) “to discuss the plan to disguise [Solaroli]’s bad loan from regulators.”

“In response to your inquiry,” Hardin said in an email to Whispers, “yes, I was involved in the organization of the entities in question and prepared certain commercial documents regarding them described in the indictment you inquired about, but I was not involved in any conspiracy alleged to have taken place inside One Bank.

“I have been practicing law and handling business transaction in this community for over 38 years, and my reputation as an honest, ethical attorney speaks for itself.”

Registered Agent

The indictment says that a company for which Rickenbach was registered agent invested $25,000 in Solaroli’s CET Racing in February 2007. Prosecutors identified the company as Exodus LLC, but the Arkansas Secretary of State recognizes it as Exodus Holdings LLC.

A registered agent may or may not be an owner of an LLC, so it’s not yet clear whether Exodus’ investment was Rickenbach’s money. His defense attorney, Rick Holiman of Little Rock, last week declined to answer any questions.



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