July 24, 2014

The Money Issue - Banking: Fraud

Pride and a Fall: Naples Banker Jerry J. Williams

Was Jerry Williams too eager to save his bank -- or himself?

Mike Vogel | 10/2/2012

Employee stockholders were wiped out. Miller, for example, invested $200,000 over the years in stock and spent another $250,000 on options. He said Williams pressured employees to keep their plan money in Orion stock. At one point, Miller's shares were worth $3 million. Now, says Miller, 59, they're worthless. Miller was chosen to represent employees at Williams' sentencing. He asked the judge to come down hard on Williams. "His quest to become powerful in the world of banking was shadowed by his increased selfishness and greed. He simply lost his moral compass," Miller told the judge.

Williams' lawyers wrote the judge: "The Bank failed, despite the best legitimate efforts of Mr. Williams and all of its employees, due to the overwhelming economic circumstances of the times. Individuals' personal anger toward Mr. Williams is, perhaps, understandable but, respectfully, misplaced."

Williams' net worth earlier this year stood at negative $3.5 million. In August, nearly six years after walking into the gala at the Pierre, Williams walked into the minimum-security prison camp at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala., to serve a six-year sentence, earning himself the distinction of being the highest-ranking Florida banker to go to prison since the financial crisis began in 2008.

Tags: Banking & Finance, The Money Issue

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