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Jailed bank executive can’t stop Suffolk branch’s sale – The Virginian

A former Bank of the Commonwealth branch in Suffolk was auctioned Thursday morning despite protests from its now former owner, Troy Brandon Woodard.

Woodard, who was convicted with his father last May in a fraud scheme that led to the bank’s collapse, is so confident that he will win his appeal that he should have been able to keep his bank branch, according to court documents his lawyer filed.

The building at 221 Western Ave. is now a Southern Bank Trust branch. Southern took over Bank of the Commonwealth’s operations when it failed in the fall of 2011.

Brandon Woodard, as he is known, was given the bank branch by his father, former bank President and CEO Edward J. Woodard Jr., with the approval of the bank’s Board of Directors. The son also owned another branch in North Carolina.

Under the company name Suffolk One LLC, Brandon Woodard obtained a $525,000 loan in 2008 from Farmers Bank to have the Suffolk branch built. Bank of the Commonwealth paid him $45,700 a year in lease payments.

According to court papers, he made his last payment to Farmers on May 3, 2012, two months before he was indicted.

Woodard is serving an eight-year prison term and is housed at the federal penitentiary in Butner, N.C.

Farmers foreclosed on the Suffolk branch, as well as on the Powells Pointe, N.C., branch that Woodard also owned and received lease payments on until the bank failed. He also had a $1.1 million loan from Farmers for that branch.

He owed about $900,000 on the combined loans. On Thursday, Southern bid $1.1 million to take ownership. Farmers will be paid $900,000, and the rest will go to the federal government to satisfy a $4.3 million forfeiture order.

Woodard, who was vice president and a mortgage loan specialist for a bank subsidiary, was convicted of defrauding the bank by taking commissions for loans he did not generate and for taking money under the table from other co-conspirators.

He also was convicted of taking $81,000 in bank money for his personal use when it was supposed to be used to build the Suffolk branch.

His attorney tried to stop Thursday’s foreclosure.

“Woodard argues that he has a likelihood of a successful appeal. Woodard submits that his appeal is not disingenuous or frivolous,” the attorney, J. Brian Donnelly, wrote to U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson.

The bank branch, he continued, “represents the only realistic opportunity to resume his livelihood if his appeal succeeds.”

Farmers and Southern argued that Woodard has no right to try to stop the foreclosure in federal court. Jackson had already upheld the forfeiture, and a state court judge upheld the foreclosure sale.

William D. Bayliss, a Richmond attorney who represents Farmers, said Woodard can make his argument with the federal appeals court.

“Suffolk One has the right to appeal, but it doesn’t stop the auction,” he said.

“It’s sad. It’s where it should be now,” he said of the branch’s sale to Southern.

In a letter Woodard wrote to his attorney that was filed in the appeals court, he was concerned that his property would be sold. He strongly urged Donnelly to fight for him.

“If it is not done and I lose the property as a result of the forfeiture and I prevail on appeal concerning forfeiture, the loss of the property will then make you personally liable,” he wrote in the letter.

Donnelly declined to comment.

Neither Jackson nor the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled on the motion when the auction occurred.

Tim McGlone, 757-446-2343,



Posted to: Bank of the Commonwealth Banking Business Crime Norfolk

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