ENID, Okla. — A former Enid mayor and bank vice president charged this week with 33 felonies related to $6.2 million of fraudulently obtained loans was arraigned Thursday morning.
Ersnt "Ernie" LeRoy Currier appeared before Special District Judge Brian Lovell with his attorney Clint Claypole free on $10,000 bond, which was posted Tuesday when charges were filed.
Claypole confirmed his client's information was correct, and Lovell entered an automatic not guilty plea on Currier's behalf. Lovell ordered Currier to return to court Dec. 11 for a bond appearance.
Currier, 64, was charged Tuesday with 33 total felony counts: one count of misapplication of funds, one count of unlawful proceeds, seven counts of false personation, 12 counts of second-degree forgery and 12 counts of obtaining money by false pretenses. He faces up to 299 years imprisonment, fines of up to $160,000 and civil penalties of up to three times the value of the property involved in the transaction on all the charges.
On Sept. 5, a man made a report with the Enid Police Department regarding the theft of his identity. He said on Aug. 31 he’d received a phone call from a Security National Bank representative who inquired about his farm equipment loan. The man said he’d never received such a loan, so he contacted Currier, senior vice president of commercial lending at Security National Bank in Enid.
According to an affidavit filed in the case, when the man called Currier about the loans Currier told him he had taken the loans out in his name and that Currier "fully expected to be prosecuted." Currier also told the man there were other names he used to create fraudulent loans. The man recorded the conversation and gave police a copy.
That man had three loans, in the amounts of $125,000, $100,000 and $145,000, taken out in his name, according to the affidavit. Records indicate Currier generated and signed the documents used to open loans in the man's name.
Currier resigned from Security National Bank on Sept. 5. Two days later, on Sept. 7, law enforcement officials confirmed an investigation into Currier's activities.
Two more men came forward to police with similar stories about loans taken out in their names that they did not obtain themselves.
Detectives uncovered was a loan-fraud scheme that began more than 17 years ago. Police say Currier opened a total of 61 fraudulent loans between the years 2000 and 2017.
He stole and used the personal identities of at least nine confirmed individuals and created at least eight other false identities, according to the affidavit. Bank records indicated Currier disbursed the loans by using wire transfers to a variety of business and personal accounts held at other financial institutions.
Currier had established the other accounts by using sham companies and counterfeit information. Once the proceeds were transferred, Currier would typically use a portion of the funds to make loan payments and another portion for his personal use, said Capt. Tim Jacobi.
"The banking records clearly indicated that Ernst Currier routinely used portions of the unlawful proceeds for his own personal gain," Jacobi said. "To keep his criminal activity concealed and to further the scheme, Currier manufactured a large collection of fabricated documents over the years."
Those documents included fraudulent tax returns, forged loan applications, financial statements, identification documents and profit and loss statements. Currier also set up several post office boxes to direct mail and to give the appearance of a legitimate address.
The total combined original amount of all 61 fraudulent loan accounts opened unlawfully by Currier is $6,207,229.88. The combined outstanding and remaining balance on all the fraudulent loan accounts is $1,811,588.01, according to the affidavit.