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'Robin Hood' Bank Exec Pleads Guilty to Fraud

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By Jason Beahm on August 18, 2010 2:04 PM

In some ways, the action that let to the downfall of Jeffrey Gonsiewski is refreshing. Gonsiewski, 56, was the vice president of the loan department at First Security Trust and Savings Bank in Chicago. Gonsiewski's job entailed monitoring loan customers that were behind on their payments.

According to the FBI, Gonsiewski used his position to buy more time for customers struggling to make mortgage payments and other loans. Gonsiewski altered loan documents, making it appear that customers accounts were current. This prevented the bank from moving to foreclose in order to collect delinquent loans and protect its assets.

Gonsiewski "fancied himself sort of a modern-day Robin Hood at a time when consumers were becoming increasingly delinquent on their bank loans." However according to the plea agreement that he signed, the bank and the government had quite a different take:

Gonsiewski caused First Security to issue unsecured and undersecured loans by falsely representing that the loans were secured by adequate collateral even though Gonsiewski knew that there was no collateral or insufficient collateral ... Gonsiewski also changed the terms and conditions of loans to conceal that loan payments were overdue; ... and the loans issued as part of this scheme resulted in a loss to First Security of at least approximately $5,500,000.

Jeffrey Gonsiewski pleaded guilty to one count of federal bank fraud which will likely land him four to six years. U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo set sentencing for Dec. 3. Gonsiewski was facing up to 30 years and a $1 million fine.

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