Risk & Compliance

Failed Bank’s COO Gets 8 Years for TARP Fraud

Regulator says Ebrahim Shabudin was so "fixated" on protecting United Commercial Bank's reputation that he hid millions of dollars in losses.
Matthew HellerSeptember 2, 2015

The former chief operating officer for United Commercial Bank has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison for conspiring to conceal millions of dollars in losses as part of a scheme that cost taxpayers $298 million in federal bailout funds.

A jury in March found Ebrahim Shabudin, 66, guilty of securities fraud and other charges related to the collapse of UCB in 2009. It was the ninth largest failure since 2007 of a bank insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The federal Troubled Asset Relief Program gave the bank approximately $298 million in November 2008 during the financial crisis. Prosecutors alleged Shabudin falsified bank records related to the third and fourth quarters of 2008 to hide millions of dollars in losses and inflate UCB’s financial statements.

At Shabudin’s sentencing on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White ordered him to serve 97 months in prison and forfeit $348,000.

“Shabudin presided over one of the largest securities fraud schemes in the history of this district,” U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California said in a news release. “His prison term should serve as a warning to persons who believe that complex commercial crime will not be detected and prosecuted.”

In 2013, the FDIC estimated that total losses for UCB would exceed $1.1 billion. With the recovery of the U.S. economy, it now estimates the loss to the Deposit Insurance Fund to be approximately $677 million.

According to federal officials, risky pre-crisis practices left UCB facing massive amounts of defaulting loans and shrinking collateral. Shabudin was the senior person in charge of determining the risk rating of bank loans, downgrading those loans, and reserving for or charging off losses.

TARP Special Inspector General Christy Romero said Shabudin was “fixated” on protecting the bank’s reputation.

“Hoping that things would get better, Shabudin gambled with $300 million of taxpayer bailout money, all of which was lost when the bank failed,” she said.