BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A Vestavia Hills man pleaded guilty Tuesday to bank fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
Christopher A. Montalbano, 38, secured millions of dollars in loans by providing fraudulent information to at least 16 different financial institutions. In addition to receiving loans in his own name, Montalbano used shell companies and the names and information of co-conspirators.
Montalbano even created websites to add validity to the shell companies, including one under the name Land Work Tractor & Equipment (LWT&E), whose page featured photos of agricultural and construction equipment supposedly in the company’s position for sale. The majority of the photos, however, were found to be copied and taken from other websites.
Along with creating an internet presence, Montalbano purchased 150 acres of land in Vincent, Ala., where LWT&E was meant to be located. He installed gates on private access roads on the property to make it difficult for lenders to verify the company’s existence and possession of equipment through unscheduled visits.
According to the plea agreement, Montalbano carried out the scheme from 2015-2020, during which he bought luxury cars and multiple properties, including a residential home, lake house and farmland, in addition to traveling on a private jet and hiring a personal assistant.
Montalbano was arrested July 8 at his home in Vestavia; his father, Gus Anthony Montalbano, was arrested at his own home the same day on similar charges.