Berry Roland Bishop, 67, has been sentenced to federal prison for committing fraud against banks in Prescott and Arkadelphia.
Duane “Dak” Kees, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, said Bishop was sentenced Friday to serve 60 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for his conviction on one felony count of bank fraud.
U.S. District Court Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Hot Springs.
According to court records, in 2011, Bishop was the president and sole owner of Alliance Insurance Group of Arkadelphia and the president of M&B Insurance Properties, Incorporated.
An investigation by the FBI revealed that Bishop misrepresented his financial condition to induce Citizens Bank to extend him loans that would not have otherwise been authorized. Bishop also forged the signatures of his insurance agency clients to obtain loans from the Bank of Prescott without the authorization or permission of those clients. The fraudulent loans obtained by Bishop exceeded $3.5 million.
To improve the cash flow of his business, Bishop misrepresented his financial condition to induce Citizens Bank to extend him loans. Bishop represented that M&B properties had no liabilities when, in fact, he was concealing an outstanding $150,000 mortgage and an outstanding $150,000 liability for the assignment of rents. Because Bishop misrepresented the liabilities and net value of M&B, he induced Citizens Bank to delay repayment of a $200,000 loan in 2017 and 2018. That loan has never been repaid.
Bishop also induced the Bank of Prescott to extend him loans. Bishop entered into loan agreements on his clients’ behalf without their knowledge or authorization by offering the value their insurance policies as collateral to the Bank of Prescott. In furtherance of this scheme, Bishop forged the signatures of his clients without their knowledge or authorization.
Bishop was named in an Information filed in December 2018, in the Western District of Arkansas, Hot Springs Division, and entered his guilty plea in December 2018.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI. Assistant United States Attorneys Benjamin Wulff and Aaron Jennen prosecuted the case for the United States.