(Updated) Another loan officer at the former Wilmington Trust Co. has pleaded guilty to fraud for his role in illegally risking and hiding loan losses in the period leading up to the financial collapse of Delaware's largest bank.
Joseph Terranova, former vice president in the bank's commercial real estate unit, admits he "conspired to extend credit to customers of the Bank under terms inconsistent with those approved by the Bank's loan committee," according to a statement by Delaware's federal prosecutor, Charles M. Oberly 3d.
Terranova and other ex-Wilmington Trust officers -- who aren't named and haven't been charged, but whose identities can easily be figured out by people familiar with the bank from the use of their titles in Oberly's report -- also conspired "to fraudulently conceal the Bank's true financial condition," keeping hundreds of millions of dollars in late and unpaid loans from proper disclosure to government bank examiners and others, according to the government. The unnamed officers were middle managers, not top executives.
The bad credits included a loan to lower-Delaware developer Michael Zimmerman, who Oberly indicted in January for bank fraud after he failed to use millions in bank funds for the retail centers he had said he would build. Zimmerman denied wrongdoing and has been fighting the charges.
The accusations were of special interest to prosecutors because Wilmington Trust was among the banks propped up by taxpayers' federal Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) dollars during the financial crisis that started in 2008. Terranova guilty plea here. Prosecutors' "information" outlining the case here.
It's unclear if prosecutors plan to charge other ex-Wilmington Trust employees. Through a spokeswoman, Oberly wouldn't comment on the case. Oberly's allegations appear to bolster some of the factual claims in private shareholder lawsuits against the bank -- but they stop short of accusing top managers who the shareholders also blame. Bloomberg story here, Wilmington News-Journal story here.