Former One Bank Officer Matthew Sweet to Plead Guilty

Matthew D. Sweet, the former vice president and controller of Little Rock's One Bank & Trust, will plead guilty Wednesday to one of the 60 federal felony counts that have been pending for more than a year, his lawyer confirmed to Arkansas Business.

Chad Green, Sweet's attorney, would not give any other details of the plea deal struck with federal prosecutors for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

Sweet was indicted by a federal grand jury in Little Rock in November 2013, the first of three indictments issued in a federal investigation into One Bank's business practices. Sweet was charged with 30 counts each of bank fraud and money laundering in a scheme to steal almost $76,000.

Sweet allegedly used his position at One Bank to obtain and sign 30 cashier’s checks drawn on a clearing account at the bank from January 2009 to October 2011, and then mailed the cashier's checks make payments on two personal credit cards.

The indictment alleged that the bank's former management discovered the theft and allowed Sweet to resign in February 2012. Sweet paid restitution in the form of two cashier's checks from another bank. One check for $9,662.25 was made payable to One Bank, and one for $101,003.49 was made payable to One Bank's owner and CEO, Layton "Scooter" Stuart, who died in March 2013.

On the same day it charged Sweet, the grand jury also charged a One Bank customer, Albert Solaroli of Jacksonville, Florida, with a single count of bank fraud for allegedly providing One Bank with a phony financial statement claiming net worth of $169 million in order to take out — and promptly max out — a $1.5 million line of credit in 2007. Solaroli, who ran business called CET Racing, never made a single payment, and One Bank received a civil judgment against him in 2008.

Gary Rickenbach, the former One Bank executive vice president who arranged for Solaroli to receive the line of credit, was subsequently charged in April 2014 with two counts of conspiracy.

Solaroli's trial is scheduled to start Jan. 26, Rickenbach's on March 30.