Georgetown builder convicted of bank fraud, identity theft

vhoneycutt@herald-leader.comAugust 14, 2013 

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A Georgetown home builder was convicted by a federal jury in Lexington of fraudulently obtaining more than a million dollars in loans from a Frankfort bank, the U.S. Attorney's office said in a news release Tuesday.

Lee C. Tevis, 59, was convicted of one count of bank fraud, three counts of filing a false loan application, three counts of aiding and abetting bank embezzlement, and three counts of aggravated identity theft. Tevis was acquitted on a conspiracy charge.

The jury rendered the verdict Monday evening, after more than 15 hours of deliberation and a five-day trial, the release said.

Starting in 2006, Tevis began construction on a house and fraudulently obtained loans from American Founders Bank by setting up bogus corporations in the names of other people to bypass loan limits.

The evidence showed that Tevis used some of the loan money, which the bank intended to be used to finance a home in Frankfort, to pay off personal loans and debt on other construction projects, the news release said.

According to testimony, when Tevis reached loan limits established by the bank, he set up a bogus corporation in the name of his company's foreman, an undocumented immigrant, to obtain more loans. After fraudulently qualifying for the loans, Tevis used the Social Security number of the foreman's five year-old son to pass the bank's credit check.

Tevis fraudulently received $1.4 million in loans from the bank. The bank foreclosed on the home that Tevis received the loans for and suffered a significant financial loss in the process, officials said.

Jim Tate, the bank's former executive vice president and senior loan officer, who approved the loans for Tevis, previously pleaded guilty to bank fraud and will be sentenced Sept 10.

Sentencing for Tevis is set for Dec. 3. He faces up to 30 years in prison.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: (859) 231-3409. Twitter: @vhspears.

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