Montgomery banker pleads guilty to federal obstruction charges

P. Kevin Castel

U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel is seen on the bench next to a witness box that is surrounded in plexiglass and contains a HEPA air filter, in a Manhattan federal courtroom, Friday, March 12, 2021, in New York. Castel, who presided over the first two pandemic-era jury trials in the fall, said COVID-19 protocols have become routine. “Once everybody gets into the rhythm and the flow, after the first day or day and a half it feels very much…like any other trial.” (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

July 04 2021 12:00 am

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — A Montgomery banker pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing a criminal investigation on Wednesday, according to United States Attorney Sandra J. Stewart.

Charles Gregory Hardy, Jr., 37, was an employee of Valley National Bank during the spring of 2020 when the bank received a grand jury subpoena from the DEA seeking records connecting to the accounts of one of the bank’s customers.

When Hardy learned about the subpoena, he sent a text message to the customer saying, “I got a subpoena for your financial records,” according to court documents. A few days later, Hardy went to the customer’s office and, while there, sent a photo of a part of the grand jury subpoena from his personal telephone to the customer.

By sending the subpoena to the customer, Hardy informed the customer of the existence of an otherwise confidential federal grand jury investigation. Grand jury subpoenas are confidential documents, and bank employees are, in most cases, prohibited by federal law from disclosing a subpoena’s existence to the customer whose records are being sought.

In the coming months, Hardy will be scheduled for a sentencing hearing where he faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison, as well as monetary penalties.

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