A man from Springfield was indicted by a federal grand jury today for a more than $1.4 million bank fraud scheme. Read the full press release below:
Michael B. Willhoit, 66, was charged in a 36-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield, Mo.
Willhoit was the owner and operator of Willhoit Enterprises, which purchased luxury, high-end, expensive automobiles to resell to customers throughout the United States. According to today’s indictment, Willhoit received a total of $1,404,000 in a dozen floor plan loans from Wood and Huston Bank in Springfield, Old Missouri Bank in Springfield, Freedom Bank of Southern Missouri in Cassville, Missouri, OakStar Bank in Springfield, and Bank of Missouri in Springfield.
As a part of each floor-plan loan approval process, Willhoit submitted a purchase agreement to a financial institution once he and the seller of an automobile had agreed to the terms and price that Willhoit would pay to purchase the vehicle. Upon receiving the purchase agreement, the financial institution determined whether to grant the floor-plan loan request and transfer the necessary amount of money into Willhoit’s account so he could purchase the vehicle. As a part of his floor-plan loan agreement with the financial institution, Willhoit agreed to a loan repayment schedule. Willhoit specifically agreed to repay each loan in full, plus any accrued interest, once he resold the specific vehicle to a new buyer.
According to the indictment, Willhoit did not use the loan proceeds to purchase those vehicles but instead used the funds for other expenses on at least 12 occasions from Jan. 1, 2014, through Feb. 28, 2018. The indictment alleges that each of the 12 purchase agreements were falsified, faked or forged. The sellers did not sell the vehicle as represented within the document, did not receive any monies as a result of the purported transaction, did not sign the document submitted to the financial institution, and at the time of the alleged transaction, did not own or possess the vehicle Willhoit represented to be part of the purchase agreement.
The federal indictment charges Willhoit with 12 counts of bank fraud, 12 counts of making false statements to a bank, and 12 counts of aggravated identity theft.
The charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.