Six year investigation led to indictment

Published 5:05 pm Saturday, August 2, 2014

A six-year investigation preceded the federal indictment of a former Coffee County bank president on multiple counts of receiving cash in exchange for loans, according to Allen Jones, attorney for Troy Bank and Trust Company.

The investigation into James Kelly Baxter had been ongoing since 2008. A 20-count indictment was returned against Baxter earlier in July. He was arrested Wednesday by U.S. Marshals.

“This matter has been under investigation since November 2008,” Jones said. “Although we cannot discuss the details of the investigation, we can reassure our customers and stockholders of Troy Bank and Trust Company that as always we continue to focus on the business of community banking.”

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Troy Bank and Trust is a wholly owned subsidiary of Henderson Bancshares, Inc., and has more than $800 million in assets.

Baxter was the former president and CEO of Peoples Bank of Coffee County in Elba, which also was owned by Henderson Bancshares. In July 2008, Peoples Bank merged with Troy Bank and Trust. Baxter served as president of the Troy Bank and Trust in Coffee County until Nov. 28, 2008, when he resigned.

According to the federal indictment, Baxter profited from multiple loans made to individuals through cash payments and proceeds from land purchases made with loan funds.

The illegal transactions cited in the indictment include, among others:

• Executing a $313,638 loan to an individual in February 2007 for the purchase of land in Greenville. Prior to the loan, the individual, a family member and Baxter agreed to split profits gained from the resale of the land. Within the next eight months, Baxter received two cash payments: one of $10,000 and another of $18,000 after the land was sold.

• $1.6 million loan in October 2007. The loan was made to two individuals who allowed Baxter to use the proceeds to repay a separate loan. The indictment alleges Baxter falsified the loan documents and illegally profited from the loan execution.

• Executing two loans in June and August 2008 for the purpose of providing funds to an investment group in which Baxter was a member. The loans were made to individuals, and the indictment alleges Baxter falsified the loan documents and illegally profited from the loan execution.

• Executing a loan to an individual in return for a $50,000 check.

In December 2012, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) issued an order prohibiting Baxter from “participating in any manner in the conduct of the affairs of any financial institution.”