Former manager of Philly bank accused of taking bribe

A former manager of a Philadelphia-based bank is accused of soliciting a bribe from a customer in return for helping the customer get loans totaling $6.4 million.

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday charged Joseph Villante, 47, of Philadelphia, with one count of bank bribery, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Zane Memeger announced.

Villante was formerly vice president and relationship manager of Republic Bank, prosecutors said.

From January through June of 2006, he allegedly assisted a real estate developer in obtaining two bank loans for two companies the developer controlled.

Prosecutors said Villante helped get a $3.4 million loan for one of the companies, which was involved in the purchase and renovation of a former motel in Wildwood, and a $3 million loan for the second company, which was involved in a real estate project in Fishtown.

In return, Villante allegedly solicited a reward of about $110,000 from the developer.

The developer’s identity and the names of the two companies involved are known to prosecutors but are not disclosed in court documents, court records indicate.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Villante had an attorney. If convicted, he faces a maximum possible penalty of 30 years in prison, five years of supervised release and a $1 million fine.

The case was investigated by the FBI and will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Judy Smith.

Contact Alex Wigglesworth at 215-854-2305 or Follow @phila_lex on Twitter.

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