NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former bank president described by prosecutors as the first person accused of attempting to steal U.S. government bailout funds in the financial crisis pleaded guilty on Friday to fraud.
Charles Antonucci, the former head of New York’s privately held Park Avenue Bank, admitted in Manhattan federal court to looting $6.5 million from the bank and re-investing it under his own name.
Antonucci, 59, who was charged in March, was ordered by U.S. District Judge Naomi Buchwald to forfeit $11 million and interests in all of his properties under a plea agreement that was sealed by the court.
Antonucci made false statements in the bank’s application for $11.2 million from TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, prosecutors said.
“For these acts, I offer no excuse. I know what I was doing is wrong and I apologize to those I hurt financially,” Antonucci said in court.
He admitted receiving private planes, luxury cars and cash in exchange for doing special favors for clients.
Prosecutors accused Antonucci of devising “an elaborate round-trip loan transaction” that he told others was his own investment in Park Avenue Bank, misleading bank regulators.
The case is USA v Antonucci, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 10-mj-00507.
Reporting by Basil Katz and Grant McCool, editing by Dave Zimmerman