ST. LOUIS, Mo., (KMOV.com) – A former Clayton real estate developer banker pleaded guilty to helping defraud a Sedalia bank out of millions of dollars on Tuesday evening.
Michael Litz, 63, of Ladue is the third person to plead guilty following a criminal investigation into the closing of Excel Bank, a Sedalia-based financial institution, in 2012.
Litz and Shaun Hayes, another defendant in the case, were both indicted on bank fraud and related charges involving a series of insider loans and straw party loans while working at the bank.
He pleaded guilty to the charge of assisting in an unlawful insider loan scheme.
Both men were partners in a several real estate development projects, which Special Agent Richard Quinn of the FBI St. Louis Division said the pair worked together to ‘ enrich themselves at the expense of Excel Bank’
“Michael Litz used his connections to banker Shaun Hayes to commit fraud. This type of self-dealing and fraud violates the integrity of our banking system and undermines consumer confidence," Quinn said.
Litz was a principal at Bellington Realty and Eighteen investments, which managed, bought, and sold over 1,000 residential and commercial properties annually. In turn, Hayes was a controlling shareholder for the bank at their main offices in Sedalia and a loan production office in Clayton.
According to court documents, Litz admitted that he recruited a friend to sign on a $3 million loan at Excel Bank to assist in Litz’s personal business. The former real- estate developer promised his friend that he would not be held liable for the loan and it would be taken care of.
Additional court papers show that Litz and Hayes set up other straw party loans at Excel Bank to cover millions of dollars in other delinquent loans of Eighteen Investments.
Hayes pled guilty on January 3 to one count of bank fraud and one count of misapplication of Excel Bank funds and is scheduled for sentencing on April 13.
Sentencing for Litz is scheduled for April 25, 2018.
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