A former vice president at Heritage Bank in Topeka has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of bank fraud. Federal prosecutors say 40-year-old Jennifer Hughes-Boyles, of Topeka, pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud. In her plea, she agreed to the forfeiture of more than $596,000. Hughes-Boyles admitted that the crime took place in 2011, while she was a vice president of Heritage Bank. Her duties included residential and commercial lending, consumer lending and foreclosed properties transactions.
Bank officials began investigating when they noticed that from March to May of 2011, Hughes-Boyles originated more than $2 million in real estate loans in spite of economic conditions at the time. Bank officials also noticed changes in her lifestyle during that time, including the purchase of a late model Corvette. An audit determined that she was providing false documentation to the bank’s loan committee by fabricating or altering credit scores on loan applications.
In one instance, Hughes-Boyles purchased a duplex that was in foreclosure for $180,000. On the same day, she resold the property to a buyer she had qualified for a loan at Heritage Bank. The new buyer purchased the property for $325,000. In reality, though, the new buyer did not make a down payment to Hughes-Boyles, which was a violation of the bank’s rules and created the false appearance that the new buyer had equity in the transaction.
Sentencing for Highes-Boyles is set for May 30. She faces a maximum penalty of 30 years and a fine up to $1 million.