Ex-Georgia bank president pleads guilty to fraud

Authorities say a former Georgia bank president has pleaded guilty to federal charges of bank fraud.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said 39-year-old S. Pope Cleghorn Jr. of Villa Rica on Tuesday pleaded guilty to fraudulently handling loans on behalf of Hometown Bank of Villa Rica, while he was president and chief executive officer.

U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said Cleghorn used his customers' deposits to make fraudulent loans to a borrower who in turned paid him cash kickbacks for the special treatment.

She said Cleghorn then tried to cover up his actions by providing phony documents to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. during a bank examination.

Sentencing is set for Nov. 18. Authorities say he could receive up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.