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Developer Sentenced for Conspiring with First NBC Bank President to Defraud First NBC Bank

NEW ORLEANS – On February 5, 2024, United States District Judge Darrel James Papillion sentenced WARREN G. TREME (“TREME”), age 59, a resident of Metairie, announced U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans. TREME previously pleaded guilty to bank fraud conspiracy for his role in the scheme that led to the downfall of First NBC Bank, the New Orleans-based bank that failed in April 2017.

TREME, who testified as a government witness at the January 2023 trial of former First NBC Bank President and CEO Ashton Ryan, was sentenced by Judge Papillion to 24 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, a $100 mandatory special assessment fee, as well as payment of $6,399,890.38 in restitution, to First NBC Bank’s successors. TREME is jointly and severally liable for the restitution amount with Ryan and William J. Burnell, the Bank’s Chief Credit Officer.

According to court documents, from in or around 2008 through April 2017, TREME had a banking relationship with First NBC Bank, individually and through various entities he controlled. TREME also co-owned several entities with  Ryan. Because of this conflict of interest, Ryan should not have been involved with TREME’s loans. However, Ryan exercised authority over TREME’s loans, along with Burnell. Throughout TREME’s borrowing relationship at First NBC Bank, TREME lacked sufficient income and cash flow from his businesses to pay his loans and personal expenses. Ryan and Burnell disguised TREME’s true financial condition by making new loans to pay TREME’s existing loans.

Court documents further describe a scheme by Ryan and Burnell to take $400,000 from TREME’s business partners as part of a settlement. Rather than using the $400,000 to pay down an outstanding loan debt owed by TREME and his business partners, Ryan and Burnell gave $300,000 to TREME. TREME spent the money on gambling, a trip to the Caribbean, and expenses related to a real estate development company co-owned by TREME and Ryan. During a subsequent Board meeting, Ryan and Burnell falsely stated that the $300,000 was used to pay down the outstanding loan debt owed by TREME and his business partners.

Ryan was sentenced to 170 months in prison for his role in this scheme, while Burnell was sentenced to 48 months in prison. Both Ryan and Burnell were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon.

U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the agencies that conducted this years-long investigation: the Federal Bureau of Investigation - New Orleans Field Office; the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General, Dallas Regional Office; and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Office of Inspector General, Miami Field Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew R. Payne of the Financial Crimes Unit, Nicholas D. Moses, Health Care Fraud Coordinator, J. Ryan McLaren of the Appellate Unit, and Rachal Cassagne of the Narcotics Unit, are in charge of the prosecution.

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