Area woman is indicted on federal bank fraud charges

08/07/2014 3:40 PM

08/07/2014 5:30 PM

A woman who has been involved in four years of litigation was indicted this week on federal bank fraud charges in connection with her ownership of several businesses.

U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said Thursday that the accused woman, 45-year-old Brenda Wood of Leavenworth, was indicted on five counts of bank fraud connected to loans obtained through Farmers Bank in Overland Park.

Wood also was indicted on one count of theft from an employee benefits program and four counts of willful violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

The alleged crimes occurred while Wood owned Professional Cleaning and Innovative Building Services Inc. in Kansas City and three businesses in Bonner Springs — Action Real Estate Services LLC, G&W Investments LLC and Riverview Crossings LLC.

If convicted, Wood could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison and fined as much as $1 million on each bank fraud charge in addition to penalties related to the other counts.

Her former business associate, Michael Yancey, also named in the indictment as a conspirator, already has pleaded guilty to charges concerning false statements on a loan application and faces five years in prison. Yancey was Wood’s loan officer at Farmers Bank before becoming Wood’s employee.

Wood has been involved in litigation since 2010 related to her attempt to buy the former New York Life Building at 20 W. Ninth St. Those lawsuits alleged check kiting and fraud. (The building now is occupied by the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.)

She subsequently filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

In the new indictments, the U.S. attorney alleges that Wood:

Obtained a loan for Riverview Crossings to buy property in Bonner Springs, partly by forging notarization and the signature of a second mortgage holder releasing the deed.

Submitted false invoices for more than $100,000 to support fraudulent draws on the Riverview Crossings loan.

Obtained a loan for Professional Cleaning to buy property in Basehor, Kan., on which she inflated the purchase price to make it look like the loan met the bank’s loan-to-value ratio rule.

Obtained a $350,000 line of credit, partly by fraudulently representing that Professional Cleaning had a contract to clean an IRS building in Kansas City.

Diverted more than $200,000 from a Professional Cleaning escrow account to her personal bank account.

Embezzled more than $30,000 from a 401(k) plan she set up at Professional Cleaning and failed to file annual financial reports for that 401(k) plan.

The U.S. attorney’s office said Farmers Bank received $12 million from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program and paid the U.S. Treasury about $11.4 million to redeem the funding, a shortfall of more than half a million dollars.

To reach Diane Stafford, call 816-234-4359 or send email to stafford@kcstar.com.

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