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The Latest. By Elazar Sontag. On July 22, , Swisshelm pleaded guilty to bank fraud and money laundering. Swisshelm was originally sentenced to one year and one day in prison on Jan. The Eighth Circuit U. Court of Appeals found Swisshelm violated the terms of his plea agreement and ordered the case to be re-sentenced.
The bank relied on the false information provided within the financial statements submitted by Swisshelm when it approved the commercial loans. According to court documents, Swisshelm knew his businesses had lost money for several years and were on the brink of bankruptcy. He gambled away what little money remained, and Arvest Bank, his original bank, denied numerous requests for extensions on his existing loans and his request for additional financing. Instead of simply declaring bankruptcy or selling off a portion of his assets to potentially preserve a part of his business, Swisshelm perpetrated a multi-million dollar fraud against Great Southern Bank.
Swisshelm intentionally traded on his reputation and deceived officials with Great Southern Bank into believing that his businesses were in good financial heath and he was able to repay these multi-million dollar loans. When asked for his tax documents, he again lied to Great Southern Bank officials and claimed the documents were not complete. Almost immediately after receiving these monies from Great Southern Bank, Swisshelm failed to make even his minimum payment requirements toward the loan.
Officials with Great Southern Bank began investigating the representations made by Swisshelm when he applied for these loans. He claimed that his two primary corporations were either making significant profits or had reversed earlier losses and were breaking even.