PENSACOLA — A Gulf Breeze attorney faces sentencing in connection with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, among other charges.
Richard Michael Colbert, 55, of Pensacola Beach, pled guilty to 13 felony counts, including: one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and/or mail fraud affecting a financial institution; one count of false statement to a federally insured financial institution; nine counts of money laundering; and two counts of theft, embezzlement or misapplication by a person connected with a financial institution.
Christopher P. Canova, United States attorney for the Northern District of Florida, announced the guilty plea.
Colbert pled guilty surrounding conduct he allegedly committed while he was the manager of Beach Title Services, a subsidiary of Beach Community Bank.
Colbert reportedly participated in a scheme to defraud and obtain money and property by fraudulent means from the federally insured financial institutions Bank of America, Beach Community Bank and the now defunct Premier Community Bank.
As a part of the scheme, Colbert signed and submitted false HUD-1s to Bank of America and Beach Community Bank. Colbert also signed and submitted a false HUD-1 to the now defunct GulfSouth Private Bank so former builder Lawrence Wright could obtain a loan.
Additionally, while acting as an escrow agent for Beach Community Bank, Colbert embezzled and misapplied funds being held at Beach Community Bank. Thereafter, Colbert conducted a series of financial transactions, thereby laundering the funds he had embezzled.
For each conspiracy, false statement and theft/embezzlement/misapplication of funds charge, Colbert faces a maximum of 30 years in prison. For each of the money laundering charges, Colbert faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.
Colbert will be sentenced March 2, 2017, at the U.S. Courthouse in Pensacola.
The Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation investigated the case with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-Office of Inspector General, and the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany H. Eggers prosecuted this case.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General.