COLUMBIA — A local businessman was sentenced Thursday to two years and six months in federal prison without parole and ordered to pay $326,318 for defrauding the Boone National Savings and Loan Association, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri.
John T. Sobaski, 43, a contractor and owner of the Columbia-based Big Cedar Custom Design and Fabrication pleaded guilty to bank fraud conspiracy Sept. 21. Sobaski admitted he used phoney names and forged signatures of guarantors in order to set up bank loans, said Don Ledford, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Sobaski defrauded the savings and loan association of more than $326,000, Ledford said.
Brian H. Nutter, a former loan officer and vice president of Boone National Savings and Loan, was charged in a 2006 indictment with conspiring to defraud the bank with Sobaski. Nutter has not yet faced trial in court and pleaded not guilty at his arraignment, Ledford said.
Nutter worked at Boone County National Bank from March 1998 to May 2002, according to the indictment. On Sept. 27, 2000, and Nov. 30, 2000, Nutter granted Sobaski loans of $20,000 and $45,000 for Sobaski’s business. While still employed at Boone County National Bank, Nutter opened a loan to a fictitious person, Lee Phillips, and used the profits to pay off the previous loans granted for Sobaski’s company.
In June 2002, Nutter accepted a job as a loan officer and vice president of Boone National Savings and Loan, a position he held until March 7, 2005. While at the company, Nutter created three loans using the fraudulent name of Lee Johnson, an employee of a ficticious business called the Diamond Lift Company. According to the indictment, the fraudulent loans granted to Lee Johnson were all used to pay off Sobaski’s business loan.
Around December 18, 2003, Nutter opened a final loan for Sobaski’s business amounting in $350,000. The loan was approved by the savings and loan because Sobaski used forged signatures of his relatives as the loan’s guarantors.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence E. Miller prosecuted the case after an investigation by the Columbia Police Department, Boone County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI.