Charles Antonucci, the former president of the privately held Park Avenue Bank, has become the first arrest to be made for TARP fund fraud. Park Avenue closed and was sold by regulators on Friday after its overall capital withered to just $3.3 million — down 87% from two years earlier. After being taken into custody at home in Fishkill Monday morning, Antonucci was charged with ten counts of embezzlement and fraud, each worth up to 30 years, for seeking $11 million of relief money with fraudulent documents. He also used $6.5 million of the bank’s money to buy himself stock, claiming that it was his own money.
“These charges are what they are,” said Charles Stillman, a lawyer for Mr. Antonucci, who stepped down as the bank’s president and chief executive in October. “We’re going to study them and consider what our appropriate response to the charges will be.”
It’s not a good sign when the best thing your lawyer has to say is ‘it is what it is.’ Meanwhile, Neil Barofsky is quite pleased, using the occasion of Antonucci’s arrest to remind anyone who has tried to steal from TARP that “You will be tracked down; you will be caught; you will be arrested; and you will be brought to justice.”