Risk & Compliance

Ex-Wilmington Trust CFO Guilty of Loan Fraud

Prosecutors said David Gibson and three other bank officials concealed hundreds of millions of dollars in past-due loans from regulators.
Matthew HellerMay 3, 2018

The former CFO and three other former executives of Wilmington Trust were convicted on Thursday of hiding hundreds of millions of dollars in past-due loans from regulators to mask the bank’s true financial condition after the 2008 financial crisis.

After a two-month trial in Delaware federal court, a jury found the four defendants — former bank President Robert Harra Jr., former CFO David Gibson, former Chief Credit Officer William North, and former Controller Kevyn Rakowski — guilty of 15 counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States and making false entries in banking disclosure documents.

Gibson was also convicted of an additional three counts of making false certifications in financial reports.

Prosecutors alleged the four bankers concealed the truth from regulators and investors about the bank’s commercial real estate loan portfolio shortly before century-old Wilmington Trust was hastily sold in 2011, near the edge of collapse. It had received $330 million from the federal government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program.

“The bank’s demise was a significant development — significant to the Delaware community and especially the bank’s employees, shareholders and customers,” David Weiss, U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware, said in a news release. “The defendants’ actions contributed to the bank’s demise.”

Both Harra and Gibson joined Wilmington Trust in 1996 and left the bank in 2011. Along with North and Rakowski, they were indicted in August 2015 for their roles in the alleged concealment of past-due loans on the bank’s books from October 2009 to November 2010.

According to the government, the defendants “waived” matured loans internally designated as “current for interest” and in the “process of extension” from the reporting requirements for past-due loans. In the fourth quarter of 2009, for example, the bank reported only $10.8 million in past-due commercial loans while waiving more than $316 million.

“The public had the right to know how the bank was keeping score,” Weiss said. “Based on the bank’s disclosures in the third and fourth quarter of 2009, no one could have known the true condition of Wilmington Trust’s loan portfolio.”

Prosecutors have said some of the individual charges carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.