Rock Hill man pleads guilty to $4.5M in bank fraud

Editor’s note: The version of this story that ran in Thursday’s print edition of the Herald contained incorrect information about the bank that was defrauded. The following story contains the correct information.

A Rock Hill man has pleaded guilty to defrauding a bank out of $4.5 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Kyle Wimmer of 1130 Hunter Trail Court pleaded guilty to bank fraud and money laundering during a hearing Tuesday, said Kevin McDonald, first assistant U.S. Attorney for South Carolina.

Wimmer could not be reached for comment. Attorney Jack Swerling said his client is trying to make restitution.

“He’s accepted responsibility,” Swerling said Wednesday. “He’s cooperating with the government. He’s doing all he can under the circumstances to make this situation better.”

Wimmer was not sentenced during the hearing, McDonald said.

“He’s out on bond, awaiting sentencing,” he said. “It will likely be scheduled within the next few months.”

Between from November 2002 to October 2004, Wimmer got money from a BB&T branch in South Carolina by giving false information about his real estate dealings, McDonald said. The scheme cost the bank about $4.5 million, he said.

“He was locating distressed properties within South Carolina,” McDonald said. “As part of the scheme, he also sought investors.”

Wimmer told state investors, as well as those from Utah, Idaho and Texas, that they would finance the property with his assistance, McDonald said. The investors were promised the properties would be fixed up, rented out and sold so they could make a profit, McDonald said.

“Once he collected their personal financial information to apply to the banks, he altered that information so that the investors appeared to be morecredit worthy than they were,” McDonald said.

Wimmer also obtained inflated property appraisals, McDonald said. A court document shows that Wimmer presented an investor’s salary at $117,300 whenthe actual salary was $34,000, and a property was valued at $317,000 instead of $210,000.

“The combined effect of the false investor information and the inflated appraisals was to induce the bank to loan more money than they ordinarily would,” McDonald said.

About 100 loans were taken out, but many went into default, he said.If convicted, Wimmer could face a maximum prison sentence of 30 years and a $1 million fine on the bank fraud charge, the court document notes. The money laundering charge carries up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, according to the document.

Court documents also note Wimmer must forfeit property, including but not limited to property at 1130 Hunter Trail Court and lot 19 at Carrollton Place, Phase II.

Toya Graham • 329-4062