Former First NBC Chief Executive Convicted in Federal Court
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The former chief executive of a failed bank in New Orleans was convicted Thursday of bank fraud, conspiracy and other charges in federal court.
New Orleans news outlets report that a federal jury convicted Ashton Ryan in connection with the collapse six years ago of First NBC Bank. The verdict followed a five-week trial.
Prosecutors said Ryan, 75, repeatedly approved loans for a group of borrowers that he knew couldn’t even pay the interest on the mounting debts. Ryan’s lawyer argued his client started First NBC in 2006 to help his community rebuild from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
Defense lawyer Eddie Castaing said that while Ryan may have made some bad loans to help people and businesses recover, he did so in good faith.
“This was a theft of epic proportions that grew from within,” US Attorney Duane Evans said. “Over 500 people lost their jobs and Ashton Ryan claimed that he was helping New Orleans after Katrina, but in reality, his fraud left a hole in the New Orleans economy.”
Ryan was convicted on more than 70 counts, some carrying possible 30-year prison terms. Ryan could also owe double restitution of the bank’s $263 million in losses.
Castaing said the defense team was considering an appeal.