A former bank CEO was convicted of federal criminal charges Tuesday over a scheme to obtain a senior position in the Trump administration in exchange for providing millions of dollars in loans to Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman.
A unanimous jury in New York convicted Stephen Calk, the former CEO and chairman of The Federal Savings Bank, on one count of financial institution bribery and one count of conspiracy to commit financial institution bribery following a three-week trial.
“A unanimous jury convicted Stephen M. Calk of approving millions of dollars in high-risk loans to Paul Manafort in an effort to secure a personal benefit, namely a high-profile spot on the presidential campaign and appointment as Secretary of the Army or another similarly high-level position in the incoming presidential administration,” Audrey Strauss, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement.
“Calk used the federally-insured bank he ran as his personal piggybank to try and buy himself prestige and power,” Strauss said. “Today’s verdict sends the message that corruption at the highest levels of federally regulated financial institutions will be prosecuted by this Office.”
The most serious of the charges carries a maximum possible sentence of 30 years in prison.
Paul Schoeman, an attorney for Calk, said in a statement, “We are very disappointed by the verdict and will be pursuing all available legal remedies, including an appeal.”
According to federal prosecutors, Calk provided $16 million in bank loans in 2016 and early 2017 to Manafort in exchange for the Trump campaign chair’s help in getting a cabinet-level position in the incoming administration.
The loans allegedly landed Calk a seat on an economic advisory committee for the campaign and an interview with the administration for a potential nomination to be under secretary of the Army. Calk ultimately did not get the nomination.
The bank lost $12 million when Manafort was charged with various fraud and financial crimes and stopped making payments in 2017. He was convicted and sentenced to more than seven years in prison, but received a full pardon from Trump late last year.