Former CEO Found Guilty of Fraud Resulting In Failure of First NBC Bank

Published 10:02 am Saturday, February 11, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

NEW ORLEANS –Today U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that on February 9, 2023 a  federal jury has returned a verdict of guilty on all forty-six (46) counts against former First NBC Bank President and CEO Ashton J. Ryan, Jr. and not guilty on all seven (7) counts against former First NBC Bank senior vice president Fred V. Beebe.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, from 2006 through April 2017, RYAN and others conspired to defraud First NBC Bank (the “Bank”) through a variety of schemes. RYAN was the President and CEO of the Bank for most of its existence. RYAN and others, conspired to defraud First NBC Bank by disguising the true financial status of certain borrowers and their troubled loans, concealing the true financial condition of the Bank from the Board of Directors (the “Board”), auditors, and examiners.

When members of the Board or the Bank’s outside auditors or examiners asked about loans to these borrowers, RYAN and others made false statements about the borrowers and their loans, omitting the truth about the borrowers’ inability to pay their debts without getting new loans. As a result, the balance on these borrowers’ loans continued to grow  resulting, ultimately, in the failure of First NBC.  The Bank’s failure cost the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s deposit insurance fund slightly under $1 billion.

For RYAN, the charges include, Count 1, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344 and 1349, multiple instances of bank fraud as listed in  Counts 2 through 37, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1344 and making false entries in bank records, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1005, as listed in Counts 38 through 46.

For each of the charged counts, the maximum penalties that may be imposed upon conviction are thirty years in prison; a fine of up to $1,000,000, or the greater of twice the gain to a defendant or twice the loss to any victim; up to five years of supervised release; and a $100 mandatory special assessment fee.

This case was investigated by the FBI New Orleans, the FDIC Office of Inspector General in Dallas, and the Federal Reserve Board of Governors’ Office of Inspector General in Miami. Agents and analysts devoted thousands of hours in reviewing millions of pages of emails, account records, and loan documents to uncover this fraud.

“We respect the jury’s verdict as it pertains to both individuals, said U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans. “I want to thank the jurors who have done a great public service in giving their time to listen and evaluate the evidence and to render their verdict. This was a theft of epic proportions that grew from within that ultimately harmed the New Orleans economy. This case shows the dedication of this office, along with our law enforcement partners to prosecuting crime wherever it happens. Be it on the streets of our neighborhoods, or in board rooms downtown, this office will dedicate the time and resources to investigate and bring culprits to justice.”

“Mr. Ryan’s willingness to ignore and flaunt all sound financial practices left the American taxpayers to foot the 1-billion-dollar bill which remained following First NBC’s collapse,” said Douglas A. Williams, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of FBI New Orleans.  “We thank our partners at the United States Attorney’s Office Eastern District, the FDIC Office of Inspector General and the Federal Reserve Board, Office of Inspector General. It is my hope that that today’s guilty verdict will result in some measure of justice for the more than 500 people who lost their jobs, and the countless stockholders who lost their financial investments.”

“The conviction of former FNBC President Ashton Ryan once again demonstrates that the  FDIC OIG, working with our law enforcement partners, will continue to  hold accountable bank executives who jeopardize the safety and soundness of our nation’s insured financial institutions,” said Anand Ramlall, Special Agent in Charge, Dallas Region, Office of Inspector General for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

“Ashton Ryan’s fraud scheme to deceive regulators and the public resulted in one of the largest bank failures since the financial crisis. His conviction sends a clear message that bank executives who commit fraud will be brought to justice for their actions. I commend our agent and our federal law enforcement partners for their hard work and persistence in this very complex case, which ultimately led to this conviction,” said Stephen Donnelly, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Eastern Region, Office of Inspector General for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The trial was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew Payne, Nicholas Moses (Financial Crimes Unit), and Ryan McLaren (Appeals Unit).