John Stacks, of Damascus, president and CEO of HomeBank of Arkansas, said Friday the recent federal indictment brought against him contains charges that are "without merit."
Stacks, who also owns Mountain Pure Water, was indicted Dec. 4 on 11 counts of money laundering and fraud relating to a small business disaster loan he obtained in 2009, according to an indictment filed by the Eastern District of Arkansas U.S. Attorney’s office.
Stacks said Friday of the allegations he unfairly profited from a Small Business Administration loan he received after claiming a tornado destroyed his water bottling equipment, that "nothing could be further from the truth."
In the indictment, U.S. attorneys charge Stacks obtained the $703,300 loan under false pretenses with the claim he had more than $500,000 worth of Mountain Pure Water equipment stored at his farm in Damascus when a tornado touched down in the area in May 2008.
Three counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering stem from three transfers of money from the SBA in Kansas City, Missouri, to Stacks’ General Account at his Greenbrier bank branch, according to attorneys. One count of submitting a false claim to the SBA and four counts of making a false statement are related to a loan agreement and other documents submitted to the SBA to secure the loan, according to the indictment.
In a prepared statement Friday, Stacks said,
"I’m writing today because neither I nor my employees have done anything wrong. We have complied with instructions and requests of FEMA and the SBA at every turn, and we have a great amount of paperwork documenting our efforts to resolve this matter … The Indictment filed this week is very vague, and to be perfectly honest, we’re not exactly sure what it is alleging. If it’s attempting to claim that I unfairly profited from the tornado, nothing could be further from the truth. I am a principal owner of a financial institution, and I know that bankers are under tremendous scrutiny, and bankers who also own other businesses even more so. All of my payments on this loan have been made on time, and after an IRS special audit following the raid last year, it was acknowledged in writing that my tax returns are complete and correct."
Stacks’ Little Rock water bottling facility was investigated, he said, using undue force.
After records were seized from the facility Stacks appeared in an online video documentary called "Rampant Injustice" that contains a re-enactment sequence that shows actors portraying agents of the Justice Department and Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS sliding into the facility’s parking lot and using military tactics to secure the building.
According to the video introduction, ‘Rampant Injustice exposes the increasing para-military tactics used by the Obama Administration’ and the other agencies mentioned.
Duncan Outdoors of Conway is also featured in the video.
Owner Gary Duncan said in a previous interview with the Log Cabin Democrat that a group of IRS agents "stormed" his business in 2012, and with similar tactics, according to the online video.
Stacks said Friday his offices are open, and he is "committed to transparent operations."
HomeBank of Arkansas has branch locations in Greenbrier and Damascus, as well as other parts of the state.
If convicted, Stacks faces maximum penalties of up to 20 years for wire fraud, up to 10 years for money laundering, up to 5 years for false claim; and up to five years imprisonment for false statements.
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1236, or on Twitter @Courtneyism. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)