When Berry Bishop was sentenced last month to five years in federal prison for bank fraud, there remained some bean-counting to determine the restitution that the former Hot Springs insurance agent still owed to his victims after turning over a number of assets.
The prosecution and defense appear to have hammered that out.
According to the amended order entered by U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey, Bishop owes restitution totaling almost $4.13 million to six entities. Here’s how it breaks down, in rounded numbers, from biggest to smallest:
► $2.82 million to the Bank of Prescott, which was acquired last month by Farmers Bank & Trust of Magnolia. According to his plea agreement, Bishop used the names of insurance clients to get dozens of fraudulent loans totaling more than $3.5 million from the bank while operating a branch of his insurance agency in Prescott.
► $955,000 to Southern Bancorp Bank of Arkadelphia, where Bishop started his agency. Bishop’s Alliance Insurance Agency defaulted on $970,000 in loans. Southern Bancorp also paid Bishop’s Alliance Insurance Agency $344,000 for a three-year insurance policy and ended up having to spend an additional $230,000 for coverage when Bishop failed to forward the premium to the carrier.
► $250,250 to Citizens Bank of Batesville, which made two loans to Bishop totaling $250,000 that were secured by the stock in a company that owned Bishop’s insurance offices in Arkadelphia and Prescott. Bishop failed to reveal that the real estate was already mortgaged to Bank OZK.
► $76,700 to United Fire & Casualty of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for the premium Bishop collected but failed to forward.
► $20,000 to Supermarket Operations Inc. of Natchez, Mississippi, and $5,000 to Jade Inc. of Hamburg (Ashley County). They appear to be clients of Bishop’s agency, but the nature of the crimes against them were not specified.
Bishop’s lawyer, Tyler Tapp of Hot Springs, had argued in court that Bank of Prescott earned “several million dollars in interest” from Bishop during the years of his escalating bank fraud scheme, so there’s a little good news for his client in the restitution order: Judge Hickey waived any interest on the restitution he owes.
Bishop has to report to the federal Bureau of Prisons on Jan. 8.