Wilmington Trust Corp. agreed to pay $44 million to settle a federal criminal securities fraud case, accepting the terms shortly before the start of a jury trial in U.S. District Court in Wilmington, where the bank and four top executives were accused of concealing from the investing public and bank regulators problem loans that ultimately led to the company’s demise, writes Jeff Blumenthal for the Philadelphia Business Journal.
“Wilmington Trust has accepted responsibility for its actions, and if possible we wanted to avoid the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction for the bank, which could have resulted in the loss of further jobs and revenues for the state of Delaware,” Acting U.S. Attorney David C. Weiss said, according to Law360.
The 19-count superseding indictment was filed in May 2015. The four executives — President Robert V.A. Harra Jr.; Chief Financial Officer David R. Gibson; Chief Credit Officer William B. North; and Controller Kevyn N. Rakowski — are still scheduled to stand trial on those charges March 12.
The four were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud related to the purchase and sale of securities; conspiracy to defraud the United States; and with making false statements to regulators. In addition, Harra and Gibson are charged with making false statements in SEC filings. Gibson is charged with falsely certifying financial reports.
The $44 million payout is in addition to the $16 million the bank paid in September 2014 to settle related SEC charges of improper accounting and disclosure fraud.
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