Former Park Avenue Bank president arrested for TARP fraud

16 March 2010

The former president of the New York-based Park Avenue Bank has been arrested for fraud.

Charles Antonucci faces ten counts in allegations which state that he made false claims in the bank's application for bailout funding from the Troubles Asset Relief Program (TARP) in "an elaborate round-trip loan transaction".

Preet Bharara, a US attorney based in Manhattan, said that Antonucci is the first person to ever be charged with attempting to defraud TARP.

"We expect he will not be the last," he added.

The bank had applied for just under $12 million in TARP funding in November 2008 but withdrew its application after citing concerns over the government restrictions placed on firms that receive the money.

Mr Antonucci has been released on a $2 million bail and his lawyer has said he will plead not guilty to the charges.

Earlier this week, regulators took control over Park Avenue Bank's $520 million in assets, stating that the financial institution was "critically undercapitalized".

Around $700 billion was made available in TARP funding by the US government to help struggling companies at the height of the financial crisis.

By Asim Shah

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