Kelly Harbert Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud, Money Laundering, Identity Theft

Kelly Harbert, the former One Bank & Trust vice president, took a plea deal on Tuesday afternoon that reduced from 20 to three the number of federal felonies with which she was charged.

Harbert, 46, acknowledged that she used the personal information of others - her parents and One Bank customers - to obtain fraudulent loans from her employer and six other banks. She pleaded guilty to one count each of bank fraud, money laundering and identity theft, but she will face sentencing and restitution based on the total amount of money she received through fraud, which was nearly $600,000.

When U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes asked Harbert to describe her crimes, she began by saying, "I was a senior vice president at One Bank, and I had an extra-large amount of debt." Then she described originating loans in other people's names and using the proceeds for her own benefit.

Holmes asked her if she had known that the money she was transferring was the product of bank fraud, she answered, "Yes sir."

In addition to One Bank, other banks defrauded by Harbert included Regions Bank, Summit Bank, Centennial Bank, Eagle Bank, IberiaBank and BancorpSouth Bank.

The original indictment handed down by a grand jury in Little Rock last June, to which Harbert had pleaded not guilty was dismissed, and Holmes accepted Harbert's plea of guilty to the three counts included in new charges drawn up by the U.S. Attorney's Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela Jegley represented the government, and Little Rock defense attorney Erin Cassinelli represented Harbert.

Harbert had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in May, just days before she was indicted.