Premier Properties and Real Estate & Retail

BREAKING: Premier's White charged with 3 felonies

June 16, 2008

The Marion County Prosecutor's Office on Monday filed three felony charges against Christopher P. White, the founder of bankrupt development firm Premier Properties USA Inc.

The charges include fraud on a financial institution, check fraud and theft-all Class C felonies stemming from a $500,000 bad check that authorities say White deposited into an account with The National Bank of Indianapolis in January.

The check was drawn on an account at JP Morgan Chase that never had a balance of more than $1,000, the prosecutor's office said. After depositing the check, White allegedly withdrew most of the proceeds, apparently so he could make payroll.

White, 50, will be arrested and faces an initial hearing later this week, said Matthew Symons, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office.

Symons said the investigation is ongoing and declined to comment further on the case. An attorney for White could not be identified.

A probable cause affidavit describes how the bad check put White into overdraft: The $500,000 check was deposited Jan. 30 into an account in the name of a White holding company, Reffco II LP.

That same day, White had $425,000 transferred from the Reffco account into an account in the name of Premier Properties. Hours later, all but about $5,000 had been wired to payroll services company ADP, in three separate transactions.

The National Bank of Indianapolis learned on Feb. 4 that the check was bad, the documents show. White opened the Chase account in the name of HPT LLC in December 2007.

A list of state's witnesses includes bank officials and Christi Minars, Premier's controller for two years.

Premier, the developer of Metropolis mall in Plainfield and several other retail projects across the United States, is being liquidated in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.

Financial and legal troubles began to mount for Premier and White last year as credit markets froze up. The 15-year-old company had built a reputation for taking on daring projects with little margin for error.

To read the probable cause affidavit, click here.

For more on Premier, visit IBJ.com/premier.

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