First person arrested on Tarp charge

City A.M. Reporter
The former president of New York’s privately held Park Avenue Bank was yesterday arrested and charged with being the first person to attempt to steal from US government bailout funds in the financial crisis.

A 10-count criminal complaint accused Charles Antonucci of devising “an elaborate round-trip loan transaction” that he told others was his own $6.5m investment in the bank, misleading state bank regulators and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

The charges filed in Manhattan federal court said Antonucci “made material and false statements” in the bank’s application for $11.2m from TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Programme. He faces up to 30 years in prison on some of the charges, if he is convicted.

“Antonucci is the first person ever to be charged with attempting to defraud the TARP and we expect he will not be the last,” Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said.

On Friday, state regulators closed Park Avenue Bank, which had assets of $520.1m and deposits of $494.5m at the end of 2009, according to the FDIC.