Posted 2/6/2013 04:42 pm
Updated 10 months ago
Law enforcement officials, including agents from the FBI and Internal Revenue Service, on Wednesday morning searched the west Little Rock home of Layton "Scooter" Stuart, who federal regulators last year removed from his position as chairman and CEO of One Bank & Trust.
A parade of vehicles carrying Little Rock policemen and federal officers filed through the entry of the gated Hickory Creek neighborhood around 8:45 a.m., according to residents.
In a statement, Stuart said the search was part of a wider investigation into One Bank, and he suggested that other bank executives' homes might be searched.
"While as awkward and embarrassing as it is, it is part of the overall investigation into the bank," Stuart told Arkansas Business. "I apologize to my neighbors for any inconvenience."
More than a dozen cars and SUVs, including two Little Rock Police squad cars, lined the circle driveway of Stuart's mansion at 1 Hickory Creek Drive as agents executed a search warrant.
Neighbors reported seeing FBI agents carrying boxes of material from the house to vehicles. Arkansas Business news partner KTHV-TV, Channel 11, confirmed with the FBI that it was participating in the collection of evidence, and that the search was being led by the IRS as part of a criminal investigation.
A source told Arkansas Business that investigators are looking into allegations of self dealing after One Bank officials filed a suspicious activity report. This action stems from the findings of a forensic audit of One Bank's financial records.
"What happened today is related to what happened at the bank and is part of the overall look into One Bank and its executives," Stuart said. "I'm not the only one."
Stuart said authorities were verifying that he "had not taken certain bank records from the bank. I think there will be other searches at other executives' homes.
"It shows the seriousness and thoroughness of what they're doing."
The audit that prompted Wednesday's search was ordered by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and reaches back to Jan. 1, 2009. The regulator ordered the audit in September, the same time it ordered One Bank's board of directors to strip Stuart of his positions with the bank and fire him.
Stuart owns 99.9 percent of the bank through its holding company, OneFinancial Corp., which received $17.3 million through the U.S. Treasury's Capital Purchase Program-Troubled Asset Relief Program.
One Bank has operated under a supervisory agreement with the OCC since January 2011. The $439.7 million-asset bank reported a $4.2 million loss during 2012.
This wouldn't be Stuart's first run-in with the IRS. In 2010, the IRS released paperwork showing it filed two tax liens in 2003 and 2004 that totaled $2.1 million. The IRS documents claimed Stuart owed the money for taxes that dated back to 1992.