Tuesday June 25th, 2019 7:55AM

Former Universal Chevrolet owner indicted in CB&T fraud

GAINESVILLE - The former owner of Universal Chevrolet in Cleveland has been indicted on charges of making and conspiring to make false statements to failed Community Bank & Trust in Cornelia.

According to attorneys with the U.S. Justice Department, 42-year-old Mitchell C. Simpson could not obtain any new loans because he could not repay his existing loans from CB&T.

They said that's when Simpson paid eight friends $2,500 each to apply for the loans on his behalf.

Authorities said former CB&T Vice President Randy Jones allowed Simpson's friends to obtain the loans, knowing the proceeds would be funneled back to Universal Chevrolet.

Jones was sentenced to 10 years in prison two weeks ago for his part in a broader conspiracy to defraud Community Bank & Trust.

The indictment alleges that Simpson's borrowers were able to obtain loans from CB&T totaling $925,000.

"Bank fraud and bank failures have had a devastating effect on many of our communities, and those responsible go well beyond the people who work at the bank," said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. "In this case, the indictment alleges that a major bank customer used his relationships with those who ran a bank to bail him out of his personal money problems. The victims of this alleged scheme include other honest bank customers who lost their main financial institution when the bank ultimately failed."

The indictment charges Simpson with one count of conspiracy to make false statements to a federally insured financial institution and two counts of making false statements to a federally insured financial institution. Officials said Simpson faces a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on the conspiracy charge and a maximum sentence of 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million on each of the other counts.

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