Gulf Breeze attorney faces 210 year sentence

A Gulf Breeze attorney faces a potential 210 years in prison pleaded guilty to 13 felony counts of bank fraud, embezzlement and money laundering last week according to a press release by the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

Richard Michael Colbert, 55, of Pensacola Beach, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and/or mail fraud affecting a financial institution, one count of false statement to a federally insured financial institution, nine counts of money laundering, and two counts of theft, embezzlement or misapplication by a person connected with a financial institution.

Colbert pled guilty surrounding conduct he committed while he was the manager of Beach Title Services, a subsidiary of Beach Community Bank. That is, Colbert participated in a scheme to defraud and obtain money and/or property by fraudulent means from the federally insured financial institutions Bank of America, Beach Community Bank, and, the now defunct, Premier Community Bank.

As a part of the scheme, Colbert signed and submitted false HUD-1s to Bank of America and Beach Community Bank. Colbert also signed and submitted a false HUD-1 to the now defunct Gulf South Private Bank so former builder Lawrence Wright could obtain a loan.

Additionally, while acting as an escrow agent for Beach Community Bank, Colbert embezzled and misapplied funds being held at Beach Community Bank. Thereafter, Colbert conducted a series of financial transactions, thereby laundering the funds he had embezzled.

For each of the conspiracy, false statement and theft/embezzlement/misapplication of funds charges, Colbert faces a maximum of 30 years in prison. For each of the money laundering charges, Colbert faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.

That calculates to a maximum possible sentencing of 210 years in prison.

Colbert is scheduled to be sentenced March 2, 2017, at the U.S. Courthouse in Pensacola.

The case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-Office of Inspector General, and the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany H. Eggers.

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