Sunday, November 6, 2011 : SunFirst Bank shut down by Utah Department of Financial Institutions
The name SunFirst Bank will be familiar to industry people following the attempts by the DoJ to dismantle the e-processing structures underpinning US financial transactions with online gambling companies .. This week the bank closed its doors on the directions of the Utah Department of Financial Institutions.
The Department appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. as receiver, and announced that it had arranged for Cache Valley Bank in Logan, Utah, to assume most of the SunFirst deposits.
While Cache Valley agreed to assume most of the $169 million in deposits, the FDIC said it will retain about $15 million "in deposits that may be subject to external litigation involving SunFirst Bank." The agency said certain accounts had already been frozen before the failure.
Cache Valley also agreed to acquire just over $177 million of SunFirst’s assets. A loss-sharing deal between the FDIC and the acquirer will cover nearly $129 million of those assets.
The failure, which is Utah’s first this year, was estimated to cost the FDIC $49.7 million.
SunFirst vice chairman John Campos still faces federal charges on the illegal processing of internet poker transactions, an accusation that he is disputing, along with fellow defendant, Las Vegas businessman Chad Elie .
SunFirst had earlier undergone a torrid time in a regulatory sense, with the FDIC ordering it to halt business with Jeremy Johnson after that individual was issued with legal papers by the Federal Trade Commission. That action was based on allegations that Johnson, through his companies I Works and Elite Debit, had been implicated in illegal activity involving false government grants and unauthorised monthly debits, with some $289 million of prejudice claimed.
Faced with criminal charges, Johnson, reportedly a major online poker player, denied he had done anything illegal, but has been further alleged to have introduced Chad Elie to SunFirst, and to have links with Campos.
SunFirst Bank had some $198.1 million in loans and other assets and $169.1 million in deposits at the end of September, authorities revealed.