A Utah County man has been charged with 14 counts of bank fraud and piloting a plane without a license in connection with an alleged check-kiting scheme that netted almost $2 million.
In an indictment handed up this week by a federal grand jury in Salt Lake City, Ronald D. Fisher was accused of gaining the confidence of bank officials by purporting to be very wealthy and lavishing them with gifts.Prosecutors said Fisher demonstrated his wealth by driving expensive cars, buying valuable real estate and flying "multiple airplanes." Two counts of the indictment accuse Fisher of flying those planes without an airman's certificate.
The indictment said, "By showing the trappings of a wealthy lifestyle, Ronald D. Fisher was able to obtain the trust of those whom he intended to victimize."
However, it continued, Fisher had no significant assets "aside from those he was able to obtain through fraud," and he had no income "even approximating" the $2.4 million per year he claimed.
The indictment says Fisher gave items of value to bank officers and employees to influence their actions and allow him more privileges than he would otherwise be able to obtain.
According to the indictment, it was through that ruse that Fisher was able to kite large checks beginning in May 1995 involving accounts at First Interstate Bank, Bank One, Family First Federal Credit Union, Universal Campus Credit Union and US Bank/WestOne Bank.
Bank One was left in a negative position totaling $352,308 in the first of the alleged check-kiting episodes and $383,071 in the second. The indictment said Fisher then presented Universal Campus Credit Union with checks totaling $1,657,722 and obtained a cashier's check in that amount. All of the checks were later returned for insufficient funds, prosecutors said.
Included in the indictment is one count of giving gifts to a financial institution bank manager (three round-trip airfares to California) "in order to prevent said officer's disapproval of large overdrafts in (Fisher's) checking account." Also, there is a forfeiture count that seeks recovery of $1,982,722.
Neither Fisher nor his attorney could be reached for comment.