Barber gets home detention, trial set for June 17

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 109 views 

Former high-flying Northwest Arkansas developer Brandon Barber has been confined to home detention to await a scheduled June 17 federal trial on numerous fraud charges related to real estate deals and his bankruptcy case.

Barber appeared Monday (April 15) before United States Magistrate Judge Erin L. Setser in Fayetteville, Ark., for arraignment “on various charges of bank fraud, bankruptcy fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering stemming from schemes to defraud involving several Northwest Arkansas real estate transactions and Barber’s bankruptcy case,” according to a press release from Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas.

Also appearing with Barber were co-defendants K. Vaughn Knight, age 46 of Fayetteville; James Van Doren, age 37 of New York; Jeff Whorton, age 45 of Johnson, Ark.; and Brandon Rains, age 32 of Springdale, Ark.

All the defendants pleaded not-guilty to all charges.

The defendants are scheduled for trial on June 17, 2013, before Chief U. S. District Judge P. K. Holmes III.

The defendants were released on bond but were subject to a special condition prohibiting them from incurring new financial debt, and Barber was confined to home detention and subject to GPS monitoring.

The four indictments, handed down from a Grand Jury seated in Fort Smith, are:
• Providing false and fraudulent financial information and statements to Legacy National Bank of Springdale in connection with loans to finance the Legacy Condominium building and project in Fayetteville;

• Providing false and fraudulent financial information and statements to Metropolitan National Bank of Little Rock and Enterprise Bank of St. Louis, in connection with loans to finance the Bellafont project in Fayetteville;

• Concealing assets and income from creditors and the bankruptcy court by transferring funds to Van Doren and Knight or accounts controlled by them and using those funds for Barber’s personal benefit and expenses; and,

• Falsely and fraudulently representing purchase prices for real estate to First Federal Bank of Harrison, Ark., to obtain loan amounts exceeding the actual purchase prices and thereby generating excess cash without the Bank’s knowledge or approval.
The charged conduct generally occurred from 2005 through 2009.

The maximum penalties for each crime are:
• Bank fraud—30 years in prison and a $1 million fine;
• Money laundering—10 years in prison and $250,000 fine;
• Conspiracy to commit bankruptcy fraud—five years in prison and a $250,000 fine;
• Bankruptcy fraud by concealment of assets or false statements—five years in prison and a $250,000 fine;
• Conspiracy to commit wire fraud—20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine;
• Conspiracy to commit money laundering—20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine; and,
• Conspiracy to commit bank fraud—30 years in prison and $1 million fine.

This case is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. United States Attorney Conner Eldridge, First Assistant United States Attorney Wendy Johnson, and Assistant United States Attorneys Glen Hines and Benjamin Wulff are prosecuting the case for the United States.