U.S. dismisses two wire fraud counts to speed up Taylor, Bean and Whitaker trial
U.S. government prosecutors dismissed two counts of wire fraud in the case against Lee Farkas, the former CEO of failed mortgage lender Taylor, Bean and Whitaker. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorneys office for the Eastern District of Virginia said the dismissal was meant to "move the trial along." Farkas now faces 14 counts of bank, wire and securities fraud. The two dismissed were related to an alleged fraud wire payment of roughly $51 million from Colonial Bank and Farkas' alleged attempt to cover it up. Opening statements in the trial are scheduled to begin Monday for one of the most entangled and allegedly sinister disasters in the financial crisis. TBW, based in Ocala, Fla., originated, serviced and sold mortgages in pools to Freddie Mac and relied on various purchase facilities, credit lines and other financing vehicles, usually with Colonial Bank and Ocala Funding. TBW filed for bankruptcy in August 2009. Ocala was a wholly owned entity of TBW and was formed in January 2005. It was managed by TBW and had no employees of its own, according to court documents. Ocala generally sold commercial paper to financial institutions and used the funds to buy TBW mortgages it then sold to Freddie. Colonial, headquartered in Montgomery, Ala., provided roughly $70 billion in funding to mortgage companies through its warehouse lending division in 2008. Its biggest customer was TBW, according to court documents. According to U.S. prosecutors, Farkas and co-conspirators at Colonial Bank allegedly devised a scheme that began in early 2002 to cover up cash flow problems. Court documents show the scheme allegedly led to the misappropriation of more than $1 billion. Farkas and the co-conspirators allegedly hid overdrafts in its primary bank account at Colonial, sold millions of dollars in mortgages that did not exist, and misappropriated more from Ocala through improper fund transfers, fraudulent transactions and allegedly false documentation. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.