Vestavia Hills father, son indicted on 26 fraud charges

Crime

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — On Thursday, a father and son from Vestavia Hills were arrested and charged in a bank fraud scheme.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Christopher A. Montalbano, 38, and Gus Anthony Montalbano, 75, were charged in a bank fraud scheme in which they provided fraudulent information to financial institutions for the purpose of purchasing boats, luxury vehicles, and heavy equipment.

A 26-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges the father and son with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, false statements on a loan application, and money laundering.

From 2015 through February 2020, the indictment indicates that the Montalbano’s conspired to submit fraudulent information regarding their income to numerous financial institutions in support of numerous fraudulent loan applications.

Christopher, the son, was also charged with aggravated identity theft and bank fraud. He also has been charged with bank fraud due to the violation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act.

In 2020, Christopher submitted to Cross River Bank a fraudulent PPP loan application for LSA Corporation. Reportedly, he fraudulently represented that the funds he sought for LSA Corp. would “be used to retain workers and maintain payroll or make mortgage interest payments, lease payments, and utility payments” when, in fact, he intended to use the funds he obtained from the PPP for personal expenses. A day later, $58,153 was deposited into the LSA Corp. bank account.

The Montalbano’s submitted fraudulent personal and corporate financial statements, tax returns, pay stubs, W-2s, invalid Hull Identification Numbers (HINs), and invalid Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) in support of the loan applications. The also applied for and obtained multiple loans for the purpose of purchasing a luxury vehicle without disclosing that they had already financed the purchase of the same luxury vehicle with a different financial institution.

The funds obtained from the fraudulent loans were used to pay for personal living expenses and make loan payments owed to other financial institutions. 

In March 2018 and September 2018, Christopher fraudulently used the identity of another individual on an application for loans submitted to USAA Bank.

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