Barber Co-Defendant Brandon Rains Pleads Guilty

Barber Co-Defendant Brandon Rains Pleads Guilty
Brandon Barber, left, and Brandon Rains.

Yet another co-defendant of bankrupt northwest Arkansas developer Brandon Barber pleaded guilty to a federal crime on Thursday.

Brandon Rains, who had been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of money laundering, made a deal in which prosecutors dropped the original charges and instead elicited a guilty plea to a single count of making a fraudulent representation to the FBI.

His plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes III, but no sentencing date has been scheduled.

More: Read the information document in the Brandon Rains case (PDF).

Specifically, Rains admitted that he lied when he told FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents that he didn't know of any cash kickbacks on real estate transactions funded by loans from an FDIC-insured bank - First Federal Bank of Harrison - "when in fact he was aware that he had received a cash payment from the seller" of a lot in Executive Square in Sprindale. This false statement was made in July 2011, according to the information filed the U.S. Attorney's Office in Fort Smith.

Rains became the fourth man to plead guilty in a set of indictments that had Barber as the common denominator. Jeff Whorton pleaded guilty in August to conspiring with Barber, Rains and a fourth defendant, David Fisher, to inflate the value of real estate transactions in order to get bigger loans from First Federal Bank of Harrison.

David Fisher's attorney, Tim Dudley of Little Rock, said the case against him will go to trial on Monday as scheduled.

Barber had pleaded guilty in both cases at the end of July, and James Van Doren pleaded guilty in August to a single count of money laundering for helping Barber hide money from his creditors. A third defendant in that case, Fayetteville attorney K. Vaughn Knight, is set for trial on 11 counts including bankruptcy fraud  and money laundering beginning Nov. 4.

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