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Former Morris County Bank Employee Indicted in $8 Million Fraud, Bribery Scheme

By kbm0423 on
Morris County

A Morris County man was indicted for his role in a conspiracy to bilk millions of dollars from a bank, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

According to U.S. Attorney Sellinger, Kurt Phelps, 53, of Flanders, is charged by indictment returned March 11, with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank bribery. Three of Phelps’ conspirators previously pleaded guilty in connection with the fraud scheme.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From 2013 through 2019, Phelps and his conspirators carried out a scheme to defraud Phelps’ employer, a bank. 

They obtained millions of dollars of credit from the bank for Starnet Business Solutions Inc. (Starnet), a now-defunct New Jersey-based printing company, where Phelps’ conspirators worked. 

Phelps’ conspirators paid him large cash bribes in connection with the fraud scheme.

In 2013, Starnet received a line of credit from the bank after providing materially false financial information. 

The bank not only allowed Starnet to maintain the line of credit, at various times, it increased the line of credit. 

By 2018, the line of credit was worth approximately $8 million, and Starnet has not repaid it.

Phelps was aware that financial information Starnet provided to the bank for the line of credit was materially false and coached Starnet on how to defraud the bank. 

Phelps would review draft financial information for Starnet and provide feedback on how his conspirators should falsify the information before submission. 

Phelps also worked to ensure that the bank did not detect the fraud scheme by helping Starnet avoid audits and other quality control measures employed by the bank.

Phelps solicited large cash bribes – tens of thousands of dollars at a time – from Starnet in connection with the fraud scheme. Phelps’s conspirators pooled cash to pay Phelps bribe payments. 

Over the course of the conspiracy, Phelps accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash bribes.