Former northwest Arkansas real estate developer Brandon Barber pleaded not guilty to an assortment of money laundering and fraud charges during an arraignment hearing Monday in Fayetteville.
Barber, who faces 30 counts, is free on $500,000 bond and is under GPS monitoring until trial, set for June 17. At the request of U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge of Arkansas’ Western District, Federal Magistrate Judge Erin Setser also set restrictions on Barber’s travel and employment.
Barber, 37, is under house arrest unless he is tending work- or family-related matters and religious services. Setser stipulated that Barber cannot handle money or engage in financial transactions for others without court approval. Barber told Setser he is employed as an insurance salesman for the Hotaling Group in New York City, but has considered pursuing a real estate license.
Barber must provide proof of income to a pre-trial services officer and cannot change jobs without approval. His travel is restricted to the five boroughs of New York City and specific counties in New York and New Jersey, plus the eastern and western districts of Arkansas. Setser did not set a curfew for Barber, but said he is not allowed to leave the house for “social” reasons.
Co-defendants K. Vaughn Knight, 46, a Fayetteville attorney; James Van Doren, 37, of New York; Jeff Whorton, 45, of Johnson; and Brandon Rains, 31, of Springdale also entered not guilty pleas.
Barber and his co-defendants will be tried together. Van Doren, Whorton, Rains and Knight are all free on bond. They also face restrictions on travel outside of work or family duties.
Charges against Barber, a 2003 Northwest Arkansas Business Journal 40 Under 40 honoree, and his co-defendants include:
- “providing false and fraudulent financial information and statements to Legacy National Bank of Springdale in connection with loans to finance the Legacy Condominium building and project in Fayetteville
- “providing false and fraudulent financial information and statements to Metropolitan National Bank of Little Rock and Enterprise Bank of St. Louis, Missouri, in connection with loans to finance the Bellafont project in Fayetteville
- “concealing assets and income from creditors and the bankruptcy court by transferring funds to Van Doren and Knight or accounts controlled by them and using those funds for Barber’s personal benefit and expenses…”
Barber, who was arrested March 20 in New York, filed bankruptcy in 2009. He is the former son-in-law of John Chambers, owner of Chambers Bank of Danville.
Arkansas Business will update this story.