In case you were wondering, the federal criminal trial of two remaining defendants from the bad old days at One Bank & Trust of Little Rock is still scheduled to start next week, although indications are that it will be June 1 rather than May 30.
Facing a jury and U.S. District Judge Kristine G. Baker will be Mike Heald and Brad Paul, former One Bank executives charged with conspiracy, money laundering and aiding and abetting false bank entries back when they worked for the bank’s owner, the late Layton “Scooter” Stuart.”
This indictment dates back to April 2014, when Gary Rickenbach, former senior EVP, was charged with conspiracy and money laundering for his role in making and then hiding from regulators a $1.5 million loan to a Florida borrower who never paid a single installment.
At the time, it was described as the first case of TARP fraud brought in Arkansas, since One Bank had applied for and received an injection of capital from the U.S. Treasury.
Almost a year later, in March 2015, Heald, Paul and a fourth bank officer, Tom Whitehead, were added as defendants. But by the end of the year, Rickenbach had offered to plead guilty to a much reduced charge of misprision of a felony — essentially failure to report a crime — and all charges against Whitehead had been dismissed in exchange for his promise to testify against Heald and Paul.
Baker is Rickenbach’s judge as well, and she has not decided whether to accept the terms of his plea worked out with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which would include a sentence of probation rather than federal prison.
Heald is represented by Gary D. Corum of Little Rock, and Paul is represented by Lloyd W. “Tre” Kitchens III, also of Little Rock.