UPDATED: MD banker pleads guilty to complex fraud scheme

A former Maryland bank CEO has pleaded guilty to federal bank fraud, bribery and other charges late last week for the alleged straw purchase of a home that the bank had already foreclosed on, according to federal law enforcement authorities.

In a release, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, working with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s (FDIC) Office of Inspector General (OIG), said Mary Beyer Halsey, 59 and of Rising Sun, Md., the former president and chief executive officer of Cecil Bank in Elkton, Md. had entered the guilty pleas.

Specifically, she pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, receipt of a bribe by a bank official, and false statement in bank records, in connection with the straw purchase of a home in Rising Sun, Maryland, upon which Cecil Bank had foreclosed. She had been indicted by a federal grand jury on Feb. 13.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, from 2012 to 2013, Halsey allegedly conspired with Daniel Whitehurst, 35 of Bel Air, Md., an employee of a real estate development company that did business in Maryland, to defraud Cecil Bank and another bank to purchase a home through a complicated process of alleged false pretenses, representations and promises.

Whitehurst pleaded guilty under seal to mail fraud on April 6, 2018, the U.S. Attorney said. His guilty plea was unsealed the same day that Halsey’s indictment was revealed. Whitehurst faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

Halsey faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison for each offense: conspiracy to commit bank fraud; false statement in bank records; and receipt of a bribe by a bank official. U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow has scheduled sentencing for November 6, 2020 at 11:00 a.m.

Former President of Cecil Bank Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges in Maryland of Bank Fraud Conspiracy, Receiving a Bribe, and Making False Statements in Bank Records