Young pleads guilty in $53M scheme

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 13, 2012

An Andalusia businessman this week admitted his role in a Pennsylvania-based loan fraud scheme in which participants are accused of stealing $53 million.

Harold W. Young, president of South Central Agency in Andalusia, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud affecting a financial institution for his actions from 2003 to 2007, Lancaster Online reported.

Three money-laundering counts against Young were dropped. He will be sentenced July 18.

Young entered his plea Monday in Philadelphia federal court. Specifics of his plea were disclosed Wednesday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Equipment Finance Inc. was a small West Airport Road firm that made loans to logging and land-clearing firms so they could buy new equipment.

It had been acquired by Sterling Financial Corp., parent of Bank of Lancaster County, in 2002.

The loan fraud, directed by two high-level EFI executives, created fictitious loans to imaginary customers and glossed over the risks of real loans.

These maneuvers were done to make EFI appear bigger and healthier than it really was to justify raises and bonuses.

As part of the ruse, Young submitted false invoices for nonexistent insurance policies on that nonexistent equipment via fax to EFI, Lancaster Online reported.

The bogus invoices caused EFI to send $1.05 million to SCA.

Young faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, a $1 million fine and full restitution.

Young is the sixth of eight EFI defendants indicted in November 2010 to plead guilty. Previously, John Tomberlin of Andalusia plead guilty to guilty to four counts – committing conspiracy, mail fraud affecting a financial institution, conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering – for his part in the case. He now faces a total of up to 85 years in jail and $4.8 million in fines. Wiley Spann, also of Andalusia, pled guilty and agreed to forfeit $7.6 million he pocketed from the fraud.

–Staff reports