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Bayard man accused of defrauding Nebraska bank of $7.6M

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SCOTTSBLUFF -- A Bayard rancher has been indicted on four counts of bank fraud after he allegedly defrauded a bank in an attempt to secure more than $11.2 million in loans.

According to an indictment filed in the U.S. District Court in Nebraska, George Liakos, who grew beans, corn and sugar beets in addition to raising cattle, is accused of attempting to defraud Great Western Bank.

The indictment says Liakos, 62, and his wife entered into an agreement with Great Western Bank on or about June 2, 2017, for a revolving loan of credit of $8.5 million, a machinery and equipment loan of more than $1.8 million and a livestock loan for $850,000. The couple granted the bank a security interest in assets and farm products as collateral for the loans.

On Nov. 26, 2018, the parties signed a forbearance agreement, temporarily reducing payment of the amounts due from the June 2017 loan, with interest, and an additional revolving line of credit of $336,000.

According to the indictment, Liakos is accused of executing a scheme to defraud the bank beginning on or about April 20, 2017, and through on or about May 7, 2019. Liakos is accused of submitting information from a third party financial institution that “materially overstated his commodity inventory and materially understated and failed to report loans and accounts payable.” The falsified certificates were submitted monthly and Liakos is accused of providing false information to his accountant in preparation and submission of those certificates.

Liakos also allegedly made false statements to bank officials about his commodity and livestock inventory “in an effort to hide his current financial condition to Great Western Bank,” the indictment alleged.

According to the indictment, Great Western Bank suffered a loss of more than $7.6 million as a result of the alleged scheme.

Liakos is also charged with a fifth count of making a false statement in connection with a commodity loan applied for through the Farm Service Agency.

The maximum possible penalty on each bank fraud charge, if Liakos is convicted, is 30 years imprisonment, a $1 million fine, a five-year term of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment. On the false statement charge, Liakos faces a maximum possible penalty of five years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, a three-year term of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment, if convicted.

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