MONROE, La. – A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging
Charlie L. Simpson, 48, of Downsville, who worked as Chief Operating Officer of United
Home Care, Inc. (“United”) and Trinity Home Health Care, Inc. (“Trinity”), and Charles
R. Gardner, 53, of West Monroe, who worked as Chief Financial Officer/Controller of
United and Trinity. Simpson and Gardner were each charged with one count of
conspiracy to commit bank fraud and four counts of bank fraud, announced Acting
United States Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook.
The indictment alleges that from April 2016 until March 2017, Simpson and
Gardner were involved in a scheme to defraud Origin Bank, Peoples Bank, and Louisiana
National Bank (“LNB”) by fraudulently obtaining money and credits from the three
banks. It is alleged that Simpson and Gardner orchestrated and executed a check kite
between accounts at Origin Bank and LNB wherein they deposited hundreds of checks
between multiple accounts they controlled at both banks and took advantage of the float
when they passed the checks, timing the exchanges to artificially inflate the account
balances. In so doing, Simpson and Gardner caused Origin Bank and LNB to honor
checks and payments drawn against accounts with insufficient funds and put the
financial institutions at risk.
The indictment further alleges that on March 8, 2017, Simpson learned that
accounts under his control at LNB had an overdraft and the bank would only accept a
certified check to cover the deficit. To cover the overdraft and prevent the kite from
collapsing, Simpson and Gardner allegedly added a third bank, Peoples Bank, into the
scheme by issuing over 20 checks for approximately $4 million drawn from different
accounts at that bank and deposited them into multiple accounts at Origin Bank.
However, the accounts used at Peoples Bank did not have sufficient funds to cover the
checks deposited into Origin Bank. In fact, the accounts at Peoples Bank had less than
$2,000 available. The following day, March 9, 2017, the defendants used the artificially
inflated balances to obtain four certified checks totaling $2.1 million from Origin Bank
and deposited them into different accounts at LNB to cover the overdraft. Origin Bank
suffered a financial loss when it discovered that Simpson and Gardner had used the
inflated accounts to obtain certified funds.
An indictment is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent
unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The FBI is conducting this investigation and Assistant U.S. Attorney Leon H.
Whitten is prosecuting the case.