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Editor: Eric C. Chaffee
Univ. of Toledo College of Law

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Former Taylor, Bean CEO Settles Charges of Aiding & Abetting TARP Fraud

On June 17, 2011 the SEC charged Paul R. Allen, the former chief-executive officer at Taylor, Bean and Whitaker Mortgage Corp. (TBW), which was once the nation's largest non-depository mortgage lender, with aiding-and-abetting the efforts of TBW’s former chairman, Lee B. Farkas, to defraud the U.S. Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).  Without admitting or denying the SEC's allegations, Allen consented to the entry of a judgment permanently enjoining him from violation of Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rules 10b-5.

According to the SEC's complaint, Farkas, with the substantial assistance of Allen, was responsible for a bogus equity investment that caused Colonial Bank to misrepresent that it had satisfied a prerequisite necessary to qualify for TARP funds. When Colonial Bank's parent company — The Colonial BancGroup, Inc. — issued a press release announcing it had obtained preliminary approval to receive $550 million in TARP funds, its stock price jumped 54 percent in the remaining two hours of trading, representing its largest one-day price increase since 1983.

The SEC's complaint alleges that Farkas falsely told BancGroup that a foreign-held investment bank had committed to financing TBW's equity investment in Colonial Bank. Farkas also issued a press release on behalf of TBW announcing that TBW had secured the necessary financing for BancGroup. Contrary to his representations to BancGroup and to the investing public, Farkas never secured financing or sufficient investors to fund the capital infusion. When BancGroup and TBW later mutually announced the termination of their stock purchase agreement, essentially signaling the end of Colonial Bank's pursuit of TARP funds, BancGroup's stock declined 20 percent. Allen substantially assisted Farkas in making these false statements.

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