Thursday, August 09, 2007
St. Louis Democrat's credit card, bank fraud trial set for Sept. 17
The key witness against Rep. John Bowman, D-St. Louis, when he and his co-defendants go to trial Sept. 17 on federal bank fraud and credit card fraud charges...will be Rep. John Bowman.
Bowman's lawyers were unsuccessful in their efforts to have statements made by their client to U. S. Secret Service Special Agent John Bush and U. S. Postal Inspector Service Agent Tom Kearns ruled inadmissible.
According to documents filed in U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Bowman made his incriminating statements during a 30-minute "surreptitiously videoed" session in a "small, bare, windowless room with the door closed throughout the interrogation."
The motion also indicated that Bowman was never told that he did not have to incriminate himself.
Even worse, according to the motion, "Bush and Kearns knew the answer to many, if not all, of the incriminating questions they directed to Bowman and, apparently, directed the questions to him for the sole purpose of eliciting incriminating responses."
The veteran St. Louis representative was indicted in January by a federal grand jury, which said Bowman and his co-defendants agreed to a scheme in which Bank of America Vice President Robert Conner took a bank lending program which provided money to small businesses by offering a $25,000 credit limit. Conner then arranged with the other defendants to apply for the loans, often with fictitious companies, then give Conner kickbacks ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 on each loan.
According to the indictment, Conner approved $1,213,970 in fraudulent loans.
The indictment says Bowman became involved in the scheme in January 2006 during a meeting with Conner in the Bank of America branch in Chesterfield, submitting a fraudulent credit application under the name "Bowman Consulting."
On Jan. 30, 2006, the indictment said, Bowman used a "fraudulent credit card to obtain a $4,050 cash advance at a Bank of America Plaza branch in St. Louis. From Jan. 25, 2006, to Feb. 3, 2006, Bowman used the bank VISA card to buy "things of value in excess of $1,000."
If convicted of the crimes, Bowman could be sentenced to as much as 40 years in prison.