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Former Bank of the Commonwealth CEO Sentenced to 23 yrs in Fraud Case

Photo from Stephen M. Katz / The Virginian-Pilot

Photo from Stephen M. Katz / The Virginian-Pilot

Nov. 6, 2013

Former Bank of the Commonwealth President and CEO Edward J. Woodard Jr. was sentenced on Wednesday to 23 years in federal prison Norfolk on charges of conspiring to defraud the bank and related counts.

Woodard, 70, had served as the bank's president since 1973.

"I sincerely regret the results of some of my decisions but every decision I made was always in the best interest of the bank," Woodard said in a statement before he was sentenced.

Woodard, his son, mortgage specialist T. Brandon Woodward, former vice president Stephen Fields, and developer and bank customer Dwight Etheridge were found guilty in May on charges of conspiring to defraud the bank out of $71 million before its collapse in 2011.

The bank executives were accused of engaging in a series of illegal banking practices to hide overdue loans from regulators and the bank's board of directors, masking the true dismal financial condition of the bank. The bank eventually failed in September 2011 amid more than $150 million in losses.

Ed Woodward approved tens of millions of dollars in loans to troubled borrowers and then used questionable banking practices to hide those bad loans from regulators and the bank's board of directors. He was acquitted on charges of misapplication of bank funds.

T. Brandon Brandon Woodard is serving an eight-year prison term and Fields is serving a 17-year sentence. Menden is serving 11-and-a-half years; Hranowsky 14 years; and Etheridge four years and two months.

Federal prosecutors are seeking nearly $400 million in forfeitures and restitution from Woodard.

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