Could be turned over to
local law enforcement
By MARGIE WUEBKER
An investigation — possibly involving the FBI —
is nearing completion at Community First Bank & Trust Co.
“Progress is being made on the continuing audit and we
would hope for finalization within several weeks,” John
Hoying, senior vice president, told The Daily Standard late
The audit, which Hoying had confirmed was under way earlier
this month, will prove whether the bank and bank employees have
been doing things properly or improperly.
In the event the examination uncovers improprieties, bank officials
will turn the matter over to the appropriate agency. “That
could be local folks or the FBI depending on what situation
is involved,” Hoying added.
Hoying again declined to identify the specific department being
targeted, pointing out audit activities could lead to other
areas, depending on what is found.
However, he reaffirmed earlier comments that no customer accounts
are involved. That would include checking, savings, certificates
of deposit and loan accounts among others.
Hoying described the audit as a “laborious task”
involving the checking of each transaction related to income
and expenses in the bank’s general ledger. Auditors have
been working backward day-by-day, but Hoying could not comment
on how far back the investigation goes.
“We want to bring this to a head and move on, whatever
the outcome,” he said.
Rumors continue to circulate regarding an employee being placed
on leave pending completion of the audit. Hoying said it would
be inappropriate for him to comment on employee issues with
no audit results yet in hand.
Two sources inside the bank, speaking on the condition of anonymity,
confirmed earlier this month that some sort of investigation
was under way.
An employee in the credit control department reportedly had
been put on leave and the employee’s office locked, all
without any formal explanation from management, the sources
said. They also indicated two agents, possibly from the FBI,
were granted access to the locked office recently. Bank officials
told The Daily Standard on Jan. 9 that no office was sealed
at that time.
Hoying again referred questions regarding FBI involvement to
the Lima office, where special agent Tom Bailey refuted local
rumors that an employee had been led out of the bank in handcuffs.
He said agents have made no arrests in connection with bank-related
matters in Celina.
In regard to FBI involvement in an investigation at Community
First, Bailey said agents neither confirm nor deny the report.
He added the agency traditionally releases information to the
news media upon the filing of formal charges.
Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey also declined to release information
when asked whether FBI agents had visited his office in late
December to report they were looking into possible improprieties
at the local bank. He said the sheriff’s office could
not comment on another agency’s investigation.