On Friday, a former attorney was sentenced to 40 months in prison for conspiracy to commit bank and mail fraud, nine counts of money laundering, two counts of theft, embezzlement, and false statement to a federally insured financial institution. United States Attorney Christopher P. Canova announced that 56-year-old Richard Michael Colbert of Pensacola Beach was sentenced to 40 months and was ordered to pay more than $3.7 million in restitution.
In 2007, Colbert was working as a title attorney. During this time, he signed and submitted a false HUD-1 to the GulfSouth Private Bank, which is no defunct, in order for his business partner, Lawrence Wright, to obtain a million-dollar loan. Due to the men’s fraudulent conduct, GulfSouth sustained losses exceeding $636,000.
In 2010, Colbert carried out a bank and mail fraud conspiracy by handling several closings that defrauded Bank of America, Beach Community Bank, and the now defunct Premier Community Bank. The three banks sustained losses totaling more than $2.3 due to the conspiracy.
Beginning in December 2010, Colbert was working as an escrow agent for Beach Community Bank. At this time, Colbert embezzled and misapplied more than $400,000 that was in the bank’s possession. Between 2010 and March 2011, Colbert carried out several financial transactions to launder the money he had embezzled.
In September of 2011, personnel with Beach Community bank contacted Colbert to ask where the money was located. The bank was unaware that Colbert had already gotten a third-party to replace the funds. Shortly after placing the third party’s money into the bank, Colbert embezzled an additional $237,000 from the same account.
Evidence also showed that Colbert had stolen around $36,000 from four homeowners and condominium associations that he was entrusted to oversee. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany H. Eggers prosecuted the case. Richard Michael Colbert has been sentenced to 40 months in prison for his crimes.