A Bayard farmer and 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 for the District of Nebraska, George Liakos, who conducted a farming operation in Bayard on which he primarily 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 a loans and security agreement with Great Western Bank on or about June 2, 2017, for a revolving loan of credit for $8.5 million, a machinery and equipment loan for more than $1.8 million and a livestock loan for $850,000, for a total of more than $11.2 million. As part of the agreement, the couple granted the bank a security interest in assets and farm products as collateral for the loans.
On Nov. 26, 2018, they signed a forbearance agreement, involving the amounts due and payable 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 and artifice to defraud the bank beginning on or about April 20, 2017, and through on or about May 7, 2019. Liakos is accused of submitting a Borrowing Base Certificate 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 borrowing base 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, either personally or by phone, to bank officials about his current commodity and livestock inventory “in an effort to hide his current financial condition to Great Western Bank,” the indictment alleged. He is accused of using proceeds from commodity sales to pay third party lenders and accounts payable without the knowledge or consent of Great Western Bank in an effort to conceal the identity and nature of those third party loans. He is accused of making false statements on financial statements and documents.
According to the indictment, Great Western Bank suffered a loss of more than $7.6 million as a result of the alleged scheme to defraud.
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, “for the purpose of influencing action of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), an agency and instrumentality within the USDA, for the purpose of obtaining money and property.
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.