First NBC founder Ashton Ryan sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for bank fraud

Published: Sep. 6, 2023 at 11:16 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Former First NBC Bank president and CEO Ashton Ryan was sentenced Wednesday (Sept. 6) to serve more than 14 years in federal prison for bank fraud.

Ryan, 75, was convicted by a federal jury on Feb. 9, found guilty of all 46 counts he faced. Former First NBC senior vice president Fred Beebe was acquitted in the same trial of seven counts he faced.

U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon imposed a sentence of 170 months -- 14 years and two months -- for Ryan’s crimes, which included conspiracy to commit bank fraud, 36 counts of bank fraud, and nine counts of making false entries in bank records.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Ryan from 2006-2017 conspired and worked to defraud the bank through a variety of schemes, most notably by disguising the true financial status of certain borrowers and their troubled loans and then concealing the true financial condition of the bank from its board of directors and auditors.

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Federal prosecutors said Ryan and others made false statements about the borrowers and their loans, omitting the truth about the borrowers’ inability to pay their debts without getting new loans. As a result, the balance on those borrowers’ loans continued to grow, ultimately leading to the failure of First NBC on April 28, 2017, about four months after Ryan stepped down as president.

Government attorneys said the bank’s failure cost the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s deposit insurance fund nearly $1 billion.

“This was a theft of epic proportions that grew from within that ultimately harmed the New Orleans economy,” acting U.S. attorney Duane Evans said in a statement after Ryan’s conviction. “This case shows the dedication of this office, along with our law enforcement partners, to prosecuting crime wherever it happens. Be it on the streets of our neighborhoods, or in boardrooms downtown, this office will dedicate the time and resources to investigate and bring culprits to justice.”

Ryan faced a maximum sentence of up to 30 years on each count. He was ordered to surrender to federal prison officials by Nov. 6.

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