Conspiracy to defraud bank charged against New Orleans hotel owner

The owner of a hotel in New Orleans, La., was charged Monday with conspiracy to defraud First NBC Bank, a New Orleans-based bank that failed in April 2017, according to a release circulated Thursday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Office of Inspector General (OIG).

The OIG said a “bill of information” shows that from on or around April 2010 through April 2017, Arvind “Mike” Vira, 74 years old and a resident of New Orleans, had a banking relationship with First NBC Bank, individually and through his companies. “During that time, Bank President A acted as Vira’s de facto loan officer and ensured that Vira received beneficial interest rates on savings accounts, checking accounts, and loans,” the release states. “In return, Vira agreed to make loans to Bank President A.” It said Vira agreed at the direction of “Bank President A” to keep the transactions concealed from bank employees and that “Bank President A” concealed this relationship from others at the bank and from FDIC examiners.

The OIG said the bill also alleges that at the bank president’s direction, Vira inflated his own assets on financial statements that he submitted to First NBC Bank in support of his loans. “As a result, VIRA and Bank President A were able to defraud First NBC Bank by using nominee loans to funnel money to Bank President A without bank or regulatory scrutiny,” the office stated.

Charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, Vira, if convicted, faces up to five years in prison, $250,000 in fines, up to three years of supervised release, and a mandatory $100 special assessment, the FDIC OIG said.

FDIC OIG release