Friday, January 22, 2016
Springfield restaurant owner, son sentenced in $5.5 million bank fraud scheme
The owner of several Springfield, Mo., area restaurants and his son were sentenced in federal court today, in two separate but related cases, for their roles in a more than $5.5 million bank fraud scheme.
Bruce Swisshelm, 69, of Battlefield, Mo., and his son, Bruce Swisshelm II, 44, of Springfield, were sentenced in separate appearances before U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough. Swisshelm was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison, and ordered to pay $5,492,853 in restitution. Swisshelm II was sentenced to four weeks in custody and five years of probation and ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution.
Swisshelm was the owner of Horned Frog Deli, Inc., and Swisshelm Properties, Inc. These corporations, which specialized in the restaurant industry, owned and developed commercial properties in Springfield and elsewhere. Swisshelm owned and operated Burger King restaurants, Macaroni Grill restaurants, San Francisco Oven restaurants, McAlister’s Deli restaurants, Ebbett’s Field restaurants and a Fog City Coffee restaurant. Swisshelm II served as the president for Swisshelm Properties.
On July 22, 2015, Swisshelm pleaded guilty to bank fraud and money laundering; Swisshelm II pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony.
Swisshelm admitted that he submitted false financial documents to Great Southern Bank in order to receive four commercial loans, totaling $5,592,583, from February to June 25, 2011. The bank relied on the false information provided within the financial statements submitted by Swisshelm when it approved the commercial loans.
Swisshelm submitted financial statements to the bank that claimed his businesses earned a net income of more than $780,000 in 2010. Tax documents submitted by Swisshelm to the Internal Revenue Service revealed those businesses had losses that exceeded $1.8 million in 2010.
Swisshelm II admitted that he knew about his father’s bank fraud scheme. He was personally involved in the communications with Great Southern Bank, attended meetings at the bank and signed bank documents related to the issuance of the commercial loans. After Great Southern Bank had issued the loans, Swisshelm II was made aware of his father’s fraud scheme. Swisshelm II was made aware that financial statements submitted to the bank by his father were false. Despite possessing this knowledge, Swisshelm failed to notify authorities.
Swisshelm II admitted that he helped conceal his father’s crime after he became aware of the fraud scheme and delayed the fraud being reported to authorities by Great Southern Bank.
These cases were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Carney. They were investigated by the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation.