David C. Weiss, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced that William Cook, age 63, of Berlin, Maryland was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Court Judge Colm F. Connolly to five years of imprisonment on federal bank fraud, false statement, and money laundering charges.
After a five-day trial in January 2019, a federal jury found Cook guilty of bank fraud, four counts of false statements to Artisans’ Bank, and money laundering. Prosecutors said that according to evidence introduced and arguments presented during the trial and at sentencing, Cook opened a business line of credit with Delaware-based Artisans’ Bank beginning in 2008. As part of his loan agreement, Cook submitted weekly certificates to Artisans’ Bank certifying open customer debts; Artisans’ Bank used these certificates to determine how much money it was willing to lend Cook’s business. Cook began falsifying these certificates in or around January 2009, which allowed him to access more money from Artisans’ Bank. His weekly fraud continued through May 2013, officials said. During this time, Cook used the money lent to his business by Artisans’ Bank for purposes not permitted under his loan agreement. When Artisans’ Bank learned of the fraud in July 2013, Cook had no money left to pay the $4.2 million that was still outstanding on his business loans. As part of its sentence, the Court ordered Cook to pay Artisans’ Bank the full $4.2 million in restitution, because Artisans’ Bank’s loss was caused by Cook’s fraud, according to officials.
U.S. Attorney Weiss said, “The defendant lied to a local Delaware bank on a weekly basis so that he could use its money as he saw fit, and in a manner contrary to the terms of the loan agreement. As a result of his four-year fraud, Artisans’ Bank lost $4.2 million. Cook violated the trust required for lending arrangements to succeed – both for banks and the small businesses they support. My office remains committed to investigating and prosecuting fraudulent conduct, like defendant’s, that damages the integrity of our financial system. Because the money a bank lends belongs to its depositors, we cannot ignore conduct that places those funds at risk and the people who think the rules simply do not apply to them. The Court’s five-year sentence today rightly punishes the defendant for his long-term fraud.”
Acting U.S. Postal Inspector-in-Charge of the Philadelphia Division, John Walker said, “We will continue to work with our partners at the IRS, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to combat this type of financial fraud. Postal Inspectors work diligently to protect financial institutions from falling victim to these types of schemes. In the end, these schemes negatively impact all of us.”
“IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to using our forensic accounting skills to help unravel complex fraud and money laundering schemes,” said IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Guy Ficco. “We are proud to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute individuals who attempt to enrich themselves by fraudulent means, and to help put a stop to this and other types of white-collar crime.”
This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the IRS-Criminal Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Whitney Cloud and Lesley F. Wolf.