At the height of the 2008 financial crisis, as the nation’s economy was still on the verge of collapse and the government was funneling taxpayer cash into private banks to keep them afloat, the president of one Missouri financial institution took almost 40 percent of the bailout funds his bank received and bought himself a luxury condo by the beach in Florida.
Darryl Layne Woods, the former CEO of Mainstreet Bank in Ashland, Mo., admitted using money from the federal government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, better known as TARP, to purchase the Fort Myers property (in the building pictured) on Feb. 2, 2009 for $381,487.
He took the money from the $1,037,000 his bank had received mere days earlier from TARP. The bank received the taxpayer money through a holding company, Calvert Financial Corporation, which Woods also controlled.
“At a time when many other Americans were losing their homes, he was siphoning off public funds to buy a luxury vacation condo in Florida,” said Tammy Dickinson, the attorney in charge of Woods’ case.
The government charged that Woods then engineered a cover-up of his transaction. That charge is the one to which the banker pled guilty on Monday in a federal court — a misdemeanor charge of “misleading federal investigators.”
Woods could now face a year in prison coupled with a $100,000 fine. But there is no indication in court records whether the government plans to charge him directly with misusing TARP funds.
Just a week after purchasing the condo, Woods sent a letter to Neil Barofsky, the inspector general whose job was to oversee how banks spent TARP cash. In the letter, Woods described his operation as “a small central Missouri bank” facing a worst case scenario in which “TARP proceeds will provide vitally needed infusions to a bleeding patient.” The fact that he had just bought a beachfront condo with that life-support money was absent from Woods’ letter.
As a result of his guilty plea, Woods is now barred from participating in the banking industry. The plea deal also shields his wife Jackie from any potential federal prosecution.
SOURCES: NBC News, Boone County Journal, Business Insider, New York Times