A former Nashville auto broker and salesman has been sentenced to 51 months in prison and ordered to pay back $2.7 million he appropriated through what federal prosecutors call "a hybrid Ponzi scheme and check kite fraud."
Andrew Crutcher, 53, had in 2005 and early 2006 built a scheme that took in millions from investors who believed they were funding hundreds of car sales per month. What they were doing instead was helping Crutcher make his checking account appear to have enough funds for him to withdraw large amounts of money for personal use.
"He was eventually doing little more than trading checks between himself and these investors," federal agents said last October, when Crutcher pleaded guilty to bank fraud.
The scheme, which was discovered when one of the investors stopped payment on a large check, wound up costing The Bank of Nashville about $970,000 and Crutcher's victims $1.8 million.
“This is a sad case of a man living beyond his honest means, and using money fraudulently obtained from others to do,” said U.S. Attorney Ed Yarbrough. “He misused his business and banking knowledge, and abused the trust others had in him, to fraudulently obtain funds from a federally insured bank.”
The case was investigated by agents of the United States Secret Service and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hilliard Hester.