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Published: Saturday, 12/3/2005

Ex-Genoa S&L chief charged with fraud

BY HOMER BRICKEY
BLADE SENIOR BUSINESS WRITER

Thomas R. Everett, 59, of Curtice, former president of Genoa Savings and Loan Co. and a former mayor of Genoa, has been charged with bank fraud, the U.S. Attorney's office in Toledo announced yesterday.

Thomas Karol, assistant U.S. attorney in Toledo, said the government's case alleges that Mr. Everett approved a personal loan for $100,000, taken out in another person's name for purchasing health equipment, but the money was used by Mr. Everett.

The government also claims that Mr. Everett approved the loan in violation of bank regulations.

Mr. Everett, who resigned as president and chief executive officer of the thrift in early 2003, declined to comment on the charge yesterday, referring calls to his attorney, who did not return a call from The Blade.

Mr. Karol said no date has been set for the arraignment. He said the penalty, if Mr. Everett is convicted, could range from probation to a number of years in prison. He noted that although the maximum penalty is 30 years, the typical sentence is a fraction of that.

Charges were filed after an investigation by the Sandusky agency of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, he said.

Mr. Everett joined the thrift in 1980, after working for another savings and loan in Tiffin and Findlay. He was elected mayor of Genoa in 1983 but resigned in late 1984, along with some other officials, after a rift in the village's council.

His resignation as president of the thrift two years ago was but one of the problems the institution had to deal with. In mid-2003, Genoa Savings entered into an agreement with federal regulators to reduce loans to borrowers with substandard credit and to higher-risk commercial customers, and it agreed to raise its capital level. At the time, the 80-year-old institution had assets of about $111 million.

And early last year, the thrift cut nine jobs as part of a restructuring.

By October, 2004, it agreed to be acquired by First Defiance Financial Corp., a Defiance-based bank holding company. First Defiance paid $11 million for the struggling savings and loan, whose assets had dropped to $94 million.

Assets continued to drop, to $84 million, by the time First Defiance completed the acquisition early this year.

William Small, chairman and CEO of First Defiance, said yesterday that three of the Genoa Savings offices, in Genoa, Perrysburg, and Oregon, now operate as branches of First Federal Bank of the Midwest, a First Defiance unit, and its former branch in Maumee was merged into an existing First Federal branch there.

Contact Homer Brickey at

homerbrickey@theblade.com

or 419-724-6129.



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