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Charles Antonucci Charged with Stealing TARP Funds

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By Kamika Dunlap on March 16, 2010 1:50 PM

Ex-New York banker Charles Antonucci is the first person accused of trying to steal government bailout funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

According to the Associated Press, Charles Antonucci, the former president of a community bank in Manhattan was charged with self-dealing, bank bribery, embezzlement and fraud while trying to submit the bank's application for $11.2 million in TARP funds.

Charles Antonucci, 59, could face up to 260 years in federal prison, if convicted.

Antonucci is accused of lying to banking authorities by claiming he invested $6.5 million of his own money in the bank when the money actually belonged to the bank and had merely been moved around to make it seem as if it came from his account.

Prosecutors say Antonucci's supposed investment was essentially nothing more than monopoly money.

According to court documents, the alleged offenses occurred between October 2008 and February 2009.

As previously discussed in FindLaw's Free Enterprise Blog, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) designated $700 billion to support ailing banks. But the funds were also distributed to others, including automakers and insurance companies.

All in all, about $128 billion TARP funds are still on the table.

For Antonucci however, TARP officials say his case will send a strong message to those who try to steal from the bailout program.

Antonucci's lawyer, Charles Stillman said his client would plead not guilty at a future court date.

He was freed on $2 million bail after a brief court appearance.

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