Former Estridge Homes controller to plead guilty to bank fraud

March 13, 2017

The former controller for Carmel-based Estridge Homes, who was charged last fall with diverting more than $300,000 of company money into his own bank account, has agreed to plead guilty in the case.

Thomas Carter of Fishers agreed Friday in federal court in Indianapolis to plead guilty to one charge of bank fraud and to pay restitution of $340,597 to Estridge. Carter was the controller for the homebuilder from February 2013 until May 2016. 

According to the plea agreement, Carter transferred at least $340,597 from Estridge’s Lake City Bank accounts into his own accounts beginning in March 2013.

Carter concealed his activities in multiple ways, the court document says. Sometimes, he issued Estridge checks to himself, then used the company’s accounting software to delete those entries. Other times, he coded payment checks to third-party vendors when in reality he was the payee.

When at least two of Estridge’s Lake City accounts became overdrawn in March 2016, Carter told the bank that money would be coming into the accounts via two Wells Fargo wire transfers totaling more than $1 million. Those wire transfers did not exist, the plea agreement says.

Estridge told IBJ in October that after it discovered Carter’s activity in May, it notified both Lake City and law-enforcement authorities.

Carter has not yet been sentenced in this case. His defense attorney, Steven D. Allen of Indianapolis, said a sentencing date has not been set.

Bank fraud is punishable by up to 30 years’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release, plus a $1 million fine.


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