Former Cecil Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Mary Beyer Halsey was sentenced Friday to two years in prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud, receiving a bribe and making a false statement in bank records in connection with the straw purchase of a home in Rising Sun upon which the bank had foreclosed.
U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow also ordered Halsey, who pleaded guilty in July, to five years of supervised release, restitution of $145,000 and forfeiture of her interest in the house.
“Mary Beyer Halsey will now serve time in federal prison after she used her position as President and CEO of Cecil Bank for her personal benefit, causing a loss to the bank, which had already received federal taxpayer funds as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program,” Maryland U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur said in a statement. “Corrupt bank officials undermine the public’s trust in our financial system.”
Hur had sought a sentence of two years and nine months, the maximum sentence available under federal guidelines, his office stated.
Halsey’s attorney, Steven H. Levin, said he is “pleased that the judge considered our arguments and fashioned a sentence significantly less than the government requested.”
“Ms. Halsey obviously regrets her conduct from eight years ago and that’s why she pleaded guilty and accepted full responsibility,” added Levin, of Rosenberg Martin Greenberg LLP in Baltimore. “She looks forward to once again being a contributing member to her community.”
According to her plea agreement, from 2012 to 2013 Halsey conspired with Daniel Whitehurst, an employee of a real estate development company that did business in Maryland, to defraud Cecil Bank and another bank to purchase a home through false pretenses, representations and promises.
Specifically, Halsey agreed to help Whitehurst get a $500,000 line of credit from the bank if he agreed to serve as a straw purchaser of the home at 127 Ebenezer Church Road in Rising Sun. The proposed credit line was increased to $650,000 to cover the purchase of the home, according to the plea.
Halsey subsequently and successfully spoke in favor of extending the credit line at a meeting of the bank’s loan committee, without disclosing her interest in the loan. She never told the bank she was the true purchaser of the home, nor did the bank know that Halsey and Whitehurst had orchestrated the sale of the foreclosed property at the price of $150,000, according to the plea.
As a result of Halsey’s misrepresentations and omissions, the bank lost approximately $145,000, according to Hur’s office.
Whitehurst, of Bel Air, has pleaded guilty under seal to the federal charge of mail fraud and awaits sentencing, Hur’s office stated.
Halsey’s case was docketed in the U.S. District Court in Baltimore as United States of America v. Mary Beyer Halsey, No. 1:20-cr-00058-DKC.