Jury Deliberates in TB&W Trial
Now it's up to a jury. The man who operated one of the biggest employers in North Central Florida-- and one of the Nation's largest mortgage lenders-- is on trial in federal court.
Former Taylor Bean & Whitaker CEO, Lee Farkas faces fraud charges that could send him to prison for three decades. Closing arguments concluded Monday.
Dale Barren of Coldwell Banker explained loans are usually graded by risk level, then packaged and sold to investors. But Farkas is accused of selling false loans, primarily to a recipient of federal bailout money, Colonial Bank. "Unfortunately these loans were often packaged in a lump pool, meaning bad loans along with good loans," Barren said. "So the end investor didn't always know what they were getting."
Lack of oversight may have also contributed, leading to FBI agents raiding the Ocala headquarters in August, 2009. More than 1,000 employees lost their jobs. Now the 74,000 square foot building is vacant. Bartow McDonald of the commercial real estate firm, Sperry Van Ness said they've now reduced the price by three million dollars, down to $8.9 million. McDonald said he has gotten some leads since then and hopes a new tenant can bring some jobs to the area.
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