Attorney indicted for bank fraud, embezzlement

Richard Michael Colbert, 54, of Pensacola Beach, was charged by a federal grand jury with 15 felony counts, including one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and/or mail fraud affecting a financial institution, four counts of false statement to a federally insured financial institution, one count of theft, embezzlement or misapplication by a person connected with a financial institution, and nine counts of money laundering.

The indictment, which was unsealed on Friday, alleges that while Colbert was the manager of Beach Title Services, a subsidiary of Beach Community Bank, he participated in “a scheme to defraud and obtain money and/or property by fraudulent means from federally insured financial institutions,” according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. As a part of the scheme, Colbert allegedly signed and submitted false settlement statements to Bank of America and Beach Community Bank.

The indictment also alleges that Colbert signed and submitted a false settlement statement to the now defunct GulfSouth Private Bank, so former builder Lawrence Wright could obtain a loan.

The indictment further alleges that Colbert, while acting as an escrow agent for Beach Community Bank, embezzled and misapplied funds being held at Beach Community Bank. Thereafter, Colbert allegedly conducted a series of financial transactions thereby laundering the embezzled funds.

Colbert was arrested Friday morning, and his initial appearance was Friday afternoon at the U.S. Courthouse in Pensacola.

He will be arraigned Wednesday, June 24.

The case is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-Office of Inspector General, and the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany H. Eggers.

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