A Rutherford County jury has ordered Wilson Bank & Trust to pay $7.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages to home builder Ken Howell, his wife and two of his companies. Howell had sued after former Wilson branch manager Stan Hayes had manipulated his entities' loan accounts by forging signatures. The bank may appeal the verdict; Howell says he simply wants to close the book on the episode.
“They need to make the victims whole, and we both need to move on,” Howell said. He noted that he owes several local companies money after closing his business and plans to “square up” his accounts.
Local developer David Miller has been sentenced to 45 months in prison for orchestrating a fraud scheme revolving around some Williamson County property. Miller, one of the first developers active in Brentwood's Governor's Club, had been convicted in May of identity theft and giving false statements to banks.
It's been nearly eight months since ex-Sommet Group leaders Brian and Marsha Whitfield were indicted by a federal court for an alleged multimillion-dollar fraud. The couple has, unsurprisingly, waived their right to a speedy trial, according to court filings this week. The Whitfields, along with accomplice Edwin Todd, had been set to face trial in December, but it appears as though that date will be pushed back.
The trio is being asked to forfeit some $20 million worth of property. For our coverage of the Sommet collapse, click here.
POSTDATA: WARRANTY DEEDS