After pleading guilty to two counts of bank fraud, the former president of First Security Bank-West in Beulah, North Dakota, has been sentenced to two years in federal prison.
Brady Torgerson also has been ordered by U.S. District Judge Daniel Traynor to serve three years of supervised release following incarceration, according to a Justice Department press release Thursday.
Torgerson, 35, last year was arrested and pleaded guilty last year to two separate counts of fraud against financial institutions operating in Beulah — the $70 million-asset First Security Bank-West and the $260 million-asset Union Bank, according to the release.
Between 2019 and 2021, while employed at separate times as the head of First Security Bank-West and as a loan officer at Union Bank, Torgerson orchestrated deceptive banking transactions that defrauded the banks and certain customers, according to the Justice Department.
“Bank fraud is a serious crime that harms the honest financial institutions we have in North Dakota,” Mac Schneider, U.S. attorney for the District of North Dakota, said in the release. The sentence “is also a reminder that there is a high price to pay for white-collar crime.”
Among other acts, Torgerson was accused of entering false information into bank computer systems, increasing loans so that they exceeded the original loan amounts, and extending loan maturity dates to conceal his activities.
Most notably, the Justice Department said Torgerson created fraudulent loan obligations in amounts exceeding $225,000 in the names of three separate individuals who neither knew about the loans nor received the funds.
This was the second announcement in recent days involving a bank fraud case brought by prosecutors.
A separate, lengthy federal trial in New Orleans culminated last week with a jury finding Ashton Ryan Jr., the former president and CEO of the failed First NBC Bank, guilty on dozens of fraud and conspiracy charges. The crimes were connected to the New Orleans company’s failure in 2017, the jury found.
Prosecutors said Ryan approved multiple seven-figure loans to borrowers he knew could not repay. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana said in court documents that Ryan and other former executives then made new loans to these same borrowers and used the proceeds to pay off existing loans. When First NBC failed, the borrowers collectively owed about $260 million.
Ryan, 75, was convicted on all 46 counts he faced. For each of the charges, the maximum penalties include 30 years in prison.