According to a Bloomberg report, the former chief executive officer of a Kansas bank has been charged with embezzling $47.1 million from the institution to purchase crypto assets.
The Heartland Tri-State Bank’s failure has shaken the tight-knit community of Elkhart, as investors face significant losses. Shan Hanes, who previously held leadership roles at the Kansas Bankers Association, was known as a “champion of community banks.”
However, prosecutors’ recent filing in federal court in Wichita reveals alleged misconduct that has shocked the community.
Link To Crypto Fraud Uncovered
According to a filing by prosecutors, Shan Hanes not only embezzled funds from the bank but also allegedly took money from a local church. Per the report, the criminal information document is “short on details,” but it suggests that Hanes misappropriated funds from multiple sources, causing significant financial harm.
Nevertheless, Brian Mitchell, a local businessman and client of the failed bank, believes Hanes may have been a scam victim.
The alleged embezzlement scheme began to unravel when Hanes approached Brian Mitchell, seeking a substantial loan to retrieve funds from his crypto investment.
Mitchell suspects that Hanes may have been the victim of a scheme known as “pig-butchering,” in which victims are tricked into providing increasing amounts of money; this type of fraud has resulted in significant losses for victims in the United States and worldwide.
According to Bloomberg, Mitchell became suspicious and alerted a member of Heartland’s board, eventually leading to regulators’ involvement. The Kansas Office of the State Bank Commissioner later declared Heartland insolvent, citing the bank’s victimization by a “scam.”
Whistleblower Exposes Alleged Embezzlement
Investigations revealed that Hanes allegedly embezzled funds through at least 11 wire transfers between May and July, ultimately resulting in the bank’s closure and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) being appointed as the receiver.
Brian Mitchell, who played a pivotal role in exposing the alleged embezzlement, hopes that the charges against Hanes will serve as a wake-up call regarding the risks associated with cryptocurrency fraud.
Mitchell, disappointed in Hanes, whom he once considered a friend, empathizes with the bank’s investors, who have suffered substantial financial losses. He believes acknowledging the truth is a critical step towards healing the community.
In response to the bank’s collapse, regulatory bodies and investigators descended upon Elkhart last year to examine the bank’s affairs. Fortunately, depositors were ultimately protected from financial harm due to the acquisition of Heartland Tri-State Bank by Dream First Bank.
As of the current update, the total market capitalization of the cryptocurrency market stands at $1.67 trillion, reflecting a positive change of 1.4% within the past 24 hours.
Featured image from Shutterstock, chart from TradingView.com