Miscarriage of Justice: Death throes begin for AGM as Resource Bank reneges on deal and pulls financial plug
VIRGINIA BEACH (August 3, 2007) - - With storm clouds on the horizon, by June, 1999 for AGM. Money was tight. A major contract had been given to another sub. Resource Bank wanted to know why. The death throes of AGM had begun.
Two months later, Resource, in a surprise move, slammed the doors shut on AGM and confiscated all its assets. Both Mike Agnew and his wife, Barbara, were subsequently charged, tried, and convicted, under what they contend was a 'kangaroo' justice system, of more than 20 felonies relating to bank fraud.
The FBI refused to make Mahon available to answer questions about his financial relationship with Resource. FBI spokesman Phil Mann said, after an investigation, Mahon did nothing improper or contrary to FBI policy. Mann, however, refused to answer any specific questions about Mahon's financial transactions with Resource Bank.
The FBI refused to make Duckworth available for an interview by Virginia News Source. She refused to confirm or deny questions put to her about her banking relationship in a letter from VNS.
Did Bank Examiners really start the dominios to fall for AGM?
According to information received by Mike and Barbara after the fact, banking examiners had been in looked at the Cash Flow Maximizer (CFM) arrangement under which Resource had been funding AGM's jobs.
But Mike and Barbara didn't know that, however, until after the bank changed the rules of engagement on June 25.
Barbara claims the bank went after the 'weaker' Agnews to 'show' examiners they were aggressively doing something to correct the problems, which gave their other, more stable customers time to clear up their problems. "They made us the scapegoats," Barbara said. But other forces that didn't want to pay the Agnews may have contributed.
Armada Hoffler (A/H) was one of AGM biggest customers. AGM was doing the Portsmouth Renaissance Hotel Project for Hoffler. Mike says he doesn't know that Hoffler was using the CFM program, but he knew Hoffler was doing a lot of business with Resource.
The bank always exceeded its legally authorized lending limits with AGM for entire period, they did business under the CFM program. Only after being caught by examiners, did it make a difference in the way business was going to be done. Or were there other forces at work to being AGM down?
On Aug. 5, in a meeting with bank officials and lawyers, the bank agreed to forebear from exercising its 'right to liquidate AGM collateral and would make further advances to AGM against monies brought in" and give AGM 6 weeks to seek replacement financing.
At 2 p.m., the next day, the bank advised AGM it would not fund payroll that day and told them to assemble their collateral. AGM was closed by the bank on Aug. 7, 1999 when all their assets "even paper clips" were carted off by Smith and bank employees.
All records were confiscated without subpoena, but lawyers for both parties agreed they'd be secured and only opened in the presence of AGM lawyers or officials. That didn't happen.
But it was 10-days before the FBI entered the picture in the person of Special Agent (SA) Nicole Hendericks - unsolicited by the bank. She showed up saying she'd read a story in the Virginian-Pilot about Resource closing AGM.
Records left unsecured almost 3 months in bank's halls and offices
Yet the records - evidence - lay in the bank hallways and offices from Aug. 7 until November 4th before the FBI took custody. It has been rifled through by an unknown number of people with unknown interests.
In a complaint after the sentencing to the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) the Agnews pointed out: "Department of Justice personnel failed to secure 180+ boxes of documents, computer hard drives and computer data that were necessary to effectively defend ourselves against the allegations raised by Resource Bank.
"Resource Bank officials were able to: Remove documents suggesting illegal activity by a company which was managed by a Board Member of Resource Bank, and related directly to an investigation conducted by the Norfolk office of the FBI; Place at least one document in these files which could not have been there on August 7, 1999 when the bank took possession of them; and Give false testimony in depositions in a related case regarding these records without fear of confrontation.
"Despite our notification to the U.S. Attorney’s office that the files and computer data had been tampered with and that no chain of custody existed, Justice Department personnel took no steps to investigate the actions of Resource Bank.
"Further, when FBI personnel finally took possession of these documents from Resource Bank, they failed to catalog and adequately examine the remaining documents. This failure resulted in government witnesses testifying untruthfully at trial in direct contradiction to documents in the FBI’s possession," the Agnews wrote.
Bank officer lies under oath
During a court deposition, senior vice president Smith testified:
"Once the FBI began investigation of AGM, they used their investigative authority to instruct the bank not to provide any third party with access to computer records or paper records...".
United Leasing, which was one of AGM's lenders, had sought access to the AGM records at the bank. They'd been denied. Their lawyer questioned Smith:
Q: "Besides AGM, any third parties besides United Leasing seek access to AGM's records?
A: Smith shakes her head 'No"
Q: And you didn't give access to any third parties?
In another exchange:
Q: Did anyone...other than bank personnel have access to the records ... during this time they were in your possession?"
Smith also testified she never made any copies of records for anyone other than AGM and United Leasing.
This was a blatant lie by Smith, The Agnews subsequently obtained a letter from Smith to Chris Sanders, president of Armada/Hoffler Construction Co. dated Aug. 19, 1999 saying she'd given an employee of his office access and copies.
Ironically, the FBI never interviewed the Agnews to get their side of the story, until Barbara forced a 1 1/2 hour meeting on Feb. 8, 2001. Neither Hendericks nor Steve Haynie, assistant U.S. district attorney (AUSA), took any notes, but Hendericks later constructed a 4-page summary of the interview.
Indictment on again, off again - where'd the pressure come from?
Barbara said, "In February, 2002, AGM lawyer Jon Babineau meets AUSA Mike Smythers for about an hour. Smythers tells Babineau he doesn't want to try 'this case' and he would talk to his superiors about dropping it.
"But in April, 2002, Smythers calls back to say his superiors told him told him to indict us sayig 'if we lose, so be it.' Says again, he did not want to try this case , but he was told to," said Barbara.
Neither Smythers nor Haynie would comment on the case.
Mike and Barbara were indicted by a federal grand jury on May 22, 2002.
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