July 8, 2016
Two former Regions Bank vice presidents have been indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy in a $5 million bribery and wire fraud scheme. A 39-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges Richard Alan Henderson, 57, of Hoover, and Philip Henry Cooper, 66, of Birmingham, with conspiracy, bank bribery, wire fraud affecting a financial institution and money laundering.
According to the indictment, Henderson and Cooper recruited a third man, Jesse Stewart Ellis, who has agreed to plead guilty to charges arising from this scheme, to establish a company that would enter an agreement with REFCO to provide residual value insurance, a type of insurance designed to manage asset value risk. Ellis had no experience providing residual value insurance. The defendants directed REFCO’s residual value insurance business to Ellis’ new company, and he, in return, split the proceeds of the business with Henderson and Cooper, according to the charges. The defendants concealed from Regions that they were receiving money as a result of directing REFCO’s residual value insurance business to the company Ellis established. Between Sept. 2010 and Nov. 2015, REFCO paid Ellis’ company, Residual Assurance Inc., about $5.1 million, most often through interstate wire transfer into the new company’s account at Wells Fargo Bank, the indictment charges. Henderson received about $1.8 million as a result of the scheme and Cooper received about $1.5 million, according to the indictment. The indictment also seeks forfeiture from the defendants in those amounts.