Judge sentences former banker to 23 years for fraud

November 6, 2013
Judge sentences
ex-CEO to 23 years

Edward J. Woodard Jr., former president and chief executive of the Bank of the Commonwealth, was sentenced Wednesday to 23 years in federal prison in Norfolk on charges of conspiring to defraud the bank and related counts.

U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson told Woodard before imposing the sentence that he was arrogant and indifferent as he ran “a continuing scheme of criminal conduct” and had shown no remorse, the Virginian-Pilot reported.

“The court does not believe yet that you understand you committed crimes,” Jackson said. “None of us would be in this courtroom today if you had simply done the right thing.”

Woodard, 70, had served as the bank’s president since 1973. Wood­ard; mortgage specialist T. Brandon Woodward, his son; former vice president Stephen Fields; and developer and bank customer Dwight Etheridge were found guilty in May on charges of conspiring to defraud the bank out of $71 million before its collapse in 2011.

The executives were accused of engaging in illegal banking practices to hide overdue loans from regulators and the bank’s board of directors, masking the banks’ financial condition. It failed in September 2011 amid more than $150 million in losses.

T. Brandon Woodard is serving an eight-year prison term; Fields, 17 years; and Etheridge, four years and two months.

— Associated Press

Google must scrub pictures of orgy

A French court ruled Wednesday that Google must rid its search results of nine images of an orgy involving former Formula One chief Max Mosley.

Google’s associate general counsel, Daphne Keller, said the ruling amounted to asking the search giant to build a “censorship machine” and that the company would appeal.

In 2008, the now-defunct News of the World newspaper published a story alleging that Mosley participated in a sex session with prostitutes. It also posted a video on its Web site that purported to show Mosley during the session.

Mosley has acknowledged his involvement but said the British tabloid grossly violated his privacy. He has since taken legal action in several countries and won suits against the paper in British and French courts.

The court ruled that Google must purge nine images from its search results or pay $1,350 each time one appears.

— Associated Press

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Shell Oil filed an updated exploration plan with the Interior Department on Wednesday, detailing the company’s program to drill “for multiple wells in the Chukchi Sea” off Alaska’s Arctic coast next summer, a spokesman said in an e-mail. Last year, ice and late permits forced Shell’s rigs to abandon the area without completing a well. Shell has postponed plans to drill for oil in the Beaufort Sea.

Staples joins the list of retailers throwing their doors open on Thanksgiving Day. The retailer said it would open at 8 p.m. on the holiday for the first time, following in the footsteps of Macy’s, J.C. Penney and others.

Tesla Motors’ shares plunged Wednesday after the electric carmaker said a battery shortage was limiting sales and that it is spending heavily on research and development to bring new models to market. Tesla’s shares dropped 14.5 percent, to $151.16.

Time Warner, owner of cable channels TNT, CNN and HBO, reported third-quarter profit that surpassed analysts’ estimates after its television networks benefited from higher programming fees and advertising. Excluding some items, earnings rose to $1.01 a share in the period, the company said Wednesday. Analysts had predicted 89 cents.

Toyota’s quarterly profit soared 70 percent, and the world’s top-selling automaker raised its earnings forecast, as cost cuts and the weaker Japanese yen compensated for slightly weaker vehicle sales. Toyota said Wednesday that its July-September net profit rose to $4.4 billion, from $2.6 billion a year earlier. Quarterly sales slipped to 2.24 million vehicles, from 2.25 million a year earlier.●

— From staff reports, news services

Coming Today

8:30 a.m.: Third-quarter gross domestic product and weekly jobless claims released.

10 a.m.: Weekly mortgage rates released.

Earnings: Fannie Mae, Group­on, Walt Disney, Wendy’s.

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