Upstate Banker and Developer plead in Fraud Case
An Upstate banker and developer have pleaded guilty in a fraud case. United States Attorney Bill Nettles announces 47-year-old William Binnicker, Jr. of Easley and 78-year-old Rufus Revis of Anderson pled guilty this week in federal court in Anderson, to conspiracy to commit bank fraud. United States District Judge Timothy Cain of Anderson accepted the plea and will impose sentence after he has reviewed the pre sentence report. Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that Riviera Estates was a failed real estate development in the Upstate. Revis and Binnicker joined forces to put the project together. At base, Riviera Estates was a straw buyer scheme where investors would borrow the funds to construct homes in Riviera Estates and split the profits with Revis and Binnicker upon the completion and sale of the homes. In addition to his interest in Riveria Estates, Binnicker was the loan officer for the loans issued by Wells Fargo and Regions Bank to the investors. Many of the loan applications completed by Binnicker contained false statements including the purpose of loan. Several applications also had inflated amounts of income for the borrowers. These false statements were made to induce the banks to approve the loans and to procure favorable interest rates. During the closings of multiple transactions, Revis signed affidavits stating that there were no contacts or side agreements affecting the property, when he knew very well that there existed a Riviera Estates Investor Agreement concerning the property. Hence, bank officials were kept in the dark about the investor agreements. The banks were also unaware that Binnicker had an interest in Riviera Estates. Law enforcement estimates that Wells Fargo and Regions Bank were defrauded out of approximately $2 million. Nettles stated the maximum penalty Binnicker and Revis can receive is a fine of $1,000,000 and/or imprisonment for 30 years, plus a special assessment of $100. Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Postal Inspection Service investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Bill Watkins of the Greenville office handled the case.