Beverly Hills, CA, businessman Ataollah Aminpour was arrested January 13th on federal criminal charges for allegedly defrauding his employer Mirae Bank of $33 million.

Mr. Aminpour will be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.  He faces up to 30 years in federal prison.

The fraud charges stem from the period of time when Mr. Aminpour was chief marketing officer for Mirae Bank.  He is accused to bringing loan applicants to the bank and then conspiring with the applicants to falsify their financial situation so as to qualify for large loans.  For example, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office he loaned an applicant $1.3 million dollars for one day so that the applicant could represent to the bank that he had approximately $1.4 million dollars in his bank account as collateral for a loan.

Mr. Aminpour profited from these actions by also misrepresenting to Mirae Bank the true value of the businesses that the loan applicants were purchasing.  When the bank loaned more money than was actually necessary to buy the businesses, he allegedly took the excess money for himself.  The total amount of the loans equaled $150 million, amounting to a $33 million loss for Mirae Bank.  Mr. Aminpour’s actions contributed to the bank’s collapse in 2009.

Under federal law, an individual commits bank fraud when, in an effort to “defraud a financial institution,” he or she “knowingly and willfully:”

  • “falsifies, conceals, or covers up … a material fact,” or
  • “makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation,” or
  • “makes or uses any false writing or document knowing [it] to contain any materially false . . . statement or entry”

Full text of bank fraud definitions can be viewed in the United States Code, at 18 U.S. Code § 1001 and 18 U.S. Code § 1344.

According to the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, Eileen Decker: “Over the course of nearly four years, Mr. Aminpour was able to skim money from many of these loans, which allowed him to profit at the expense of the bank and taxpayers who had to bail out the failed financial institution” Mirae Bank.   U.S. Attorney Decker’s full comments are listed on her office’s website.  We will post an update here with any new occurrences in the case, including a possible guilty plea or the setting of a trial date.

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