MONROE, La. (KTVE/KARD) — According to the Department of Justice, a federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Charlie L. Simpson, 48, and Charles R. Gardner, 53, with one count of Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud and four counts of Bank Fraud.
The DOJ says Simpson worked as Chief Operating Officer of United Home Care, Inc. and Trinity Home Health Care, Inc. while Gardner worked as Chief Financial Officer/Controller of United and Trinity.
The DOJ says the indictment alleges that from April 2016 until March 2017, Simpson and Gardner were involved in a scheme to defraud Origin Bank, Peoples Bank, and Louisiana National Bank (LNB) by fraudulently obtaining money and credits from the three banks.
Officials connected with the investigation say Simpson and Gardner orchestrated and executed a check kite between accounts at Origin Bank and LNB where they deposited hundreds of checks between multiple accounts in their control and timing the exchanges to inflate the account balances.
Investigators say Simpson and Gardner caused Origin and LNB to honor the checks and payments against the accounts with insufficient funds, putting the financial institutions at risk.
According to the indictment, on March 8, 2017, Simpson learned that his accounts at LNB had an over draft and the bank would only accept a certified check to cover the over drafted amount.
The indictment says Simpson and Gardner opened an account at the Peoples Bank to cover the overdraft and prevent the kite from collapsing. Investigators say they issued over 20 checks for around $4 million drawn from different accounts at that bank and deposited them into multiple accounts at Origin Bank.
Investigators say the accounts used at Peoples Bank had less than $2,000 and did not cover the checks that were deposited into Origin Bank.
According to the indictment, on March 9, 2017, Simpson and Gardner used their artificially inflated account balances to get four certified checks worth $2.1 million from Origin Bank and deposited them into different accounts at LNB to cover the overdrafts.
The indictment says Origin Bank suffered a finacial loss when it discovered that Simpson and Gardner used the inflated bank accounts to get certified funds.
The DOJ says this indictment is merely an accusation and these defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt.
An indictment is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent. This case is still under investigation.