published Friday, April 5th, 2013

Ex-Ellijay, Ga., banker sentenced in fraud case

The former vice president Adam Teague of the closed Appalachian Community Bank in Ellijay, Ga., was sentenced today to serve more than five years in federal prison for conspiring to defraud his employer.

U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in a news release that Georgia has led the nation in bank failures since 2008, “including this one.”

“This bank was robbed from the inside, not by a bandit carrying a gun, but a bank officer carrying a pen,” Yates said.

As senior vice president of Appalachian Community, Teague engaged in an ‘extend and pretend’ scheme using the proceeds of new bank loans to hide past-due loans, the release stated. He also hid the bank’s growing inventory of foreclosed property by directing the bank to finance sales of the properties to buyers including two shell companies he controlled — GPH (“God Please Help”) Investments and PHL (“Please Help Lord”) Investments, the release stated.

Appalachian was forced to close on March 19, 2010, and the FDIC was appointed as receiver.

Teague, 39, of Ellijay, pleaded guilty Aug. 22, 2012. U.S. District Judge Richard W. Story sentenced him to five years, 10 months in prison and five years of probation.

Teague was also ordered to forfeit $5.8 million that the government said he received from the transactions, plus, all of the real property that he purchased with the proceeds of the conspiracy.

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