The federal grand jury investigating the banking affairs of former budget director BertLance indicated a Georgia banker today for alleged self-dealing that apparently was uncovered in the course of the sweeping Lance probe.
Larry Beasley, who was president of the First National Bank of Newton County, in Covington, is accused of secretly using his bank's funds in a personal stock transaction.
The four-count indictment is the first to come out of the Justice Department's 18-month investigation of Lance, who headed two banks in Georgia before joining the Carter administration. Indictments of Lance and at least three associates are expected to be handed down by the grand jury next month, according to several sources.
According to today's indictment, on Nov. 17, 1977, Beasley arranged for his bank to make a $37,000 loan to another banker, Richard T. Carr. At the time, Carr headed Northwest Georgia bank in Ringgold, a bank controlled by Lance and several associates. In return for the loan, Carr agreed to use some of the money to buy 900 shares of stock in Northwest Georgia Bank from Beasley, the grand jury charged. Of the $37,000, Carr used $21,936 to pay Beasley for his stock and kept the balance of the money, the indictment said.
Sources here say no ready market exists for stock in small banks, such as Northwest Georgia Bank. This may explain why Beasley Allgedly undertook the complex method of selling his 900 shares.
There is no indication in the indictment that the loan was ever repaid. Carr, who was not named as a defendant, is expected to be a defendant in the broader Lance indictments, according to several sources.
The indictment says that Beasley borrowed other shares in Northwest Georgia Bank from a third party, Thomas Greeson, as temporary collateral for the $37,000 loan to Carr.
According to banking sources here, Greeson is president of the Chatsworth, Ga., Bank, another of the banks in which Lance and his associates have had major investments.
During its 18-month investigation, the Justice Department team reviewed the lending records of more than 40 banks, sources say, with the FBI creating the largest computer program in the bureau's history. Sources say the Beasley transaction was caught in this broad dragnet.
The indictment charges Beasley with several criminal violations of federal banking statutes. It says he willfully made false entries on his bank's books "with intent of injure and defraud the bank and to deceive officers of the bank and the comptrollers of the currency." The comptroller regulates national banks.
The indictment also charges that Beasley "and others not named herein as defendants" comspired to misapply bank funds.
Finally, the indectment says Beasley "received . . . a thing of value from Richard T. Carr"-the $21,936 for his stock-"in return for producing . . . a $37,000 loan for Carr."
Beasley and Carr are no longer with the banks mentioned in the indictment. They could not be reached for comment.