The Kansas City, Kan., Women’s Chamber of Commerce awarded scholarships on Aug. 13 at a meeting at Dave and Buster’s, Kansas City, Kan. Receiving scholarships were Tiffani Henley, top photo; Deborah Sparks, second photo; and Teresa Hall, third photo. The guest speaker was Doris Givens, president of Kansas City Kansas Community College, lower photo. Also receiving a scholarship was Melissa Cooper, not shown. (Photos from KCK Women’s Chamber)
An area business owner has been indicted on federal bank fraud charges, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.
Brenda Wood, 45, Leavenworth, Kan., was indicted Wednesday on five counts of bank fraud, one count of theft from an employee benefit program, and four counts of willful violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
The indictment alleges the crimes took place while Wood owned several businesses including one in Kansas City, Mo. — Professional Cleaning and Innovative Building Services, Inc. (PCI) — and three in Bonner Springs, Kan. — Action Real Estate Services, LLC; G&W Investments, LLC, and Riverview Crossings, LLC.
The indictment alleges Wood obtained loans for herself and her companies through Farmers Bank in Overland Park, Kan., by making false representations and submitting falsified documents to the bank. Among the allegations in the indictment are these:
• Wood obtained a loan on behalf of Riverview Crossings to purchase property in Bonner Springs in part by forging the signature of a second mortgage holder releasing the deed, the indictment alleged.
• Wood submitted falsified invoices totaling more than $100,000 to support fraudulent draws on the Riverview Crossings loan, the indictment alleged.
• Wood obtained a loan on behalf of PCI to buy property in Basehor, Kan., in which she fraudulently inflated the purchase price to make it appear the loan met the bank’s loan-to-value ratio requirements, the indictment alleged.
• Wood obtained a $350,000 line of credit in part by fraudulently representing to the lender that her company, PCI, was awarded a contract to provide cleaning services at an Internal Revenue Service building in Kansas City, Mo., the indictment alleged. In fact, her company was not even a finalist for the contract, authorities stated.
• Wood diverted more than $200,000 from an escrow account for PCI to her personal account, the indictment alleged.
• Wood set up a 401(k) plan for PCI and embezzled more than $30,000 from the plan, the indictment alleged.
• Wood failed to file annual financial reports for the PCI 401(k) plan, the indictment alleged.
Farmer’s Bank received $12 million from the U.S. Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program. In November 2012, the bank paid the U.S. Treasury approximately $11.4 million to redeem the funding, resulting in a shortfall of more than $500,000.
If convicted, Wood faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison and a fine up to $1 million on each of the bank fraud charges, a maximum penalty of five years and a fine up to $250,000 on the charge of theft from an employee benefit program, and a maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine up to $250,000 on each count of violating ERISA.
The Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, the Special Investigator General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the FBI investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jabari Wamble is prosecuting.
by William Crum
Recently, the American Culinary Federation held its annual convention in Kansas City, Mo. The chefs are the best of the best, more than 1,200 of them from all over the world came to attend the event.
This is the first time that they came to Kansas City, Mo. The Greater Kansas City Chefs Association laid out the red carpet for them.
American Culinary Federation is the professional organization for chefs known worldwide. American Culinary Federation chefs have to go through countless hours of training. At the national convention, they attend seminars. There many types of certifications within the organization.
While at the convention, the chefs also had time to visit local restaurants. One in particular is Kevin Strickland, a chef from Memphis, Tenn., who was really surprised.
“I like it here; the people are friendly and the food is great,” he said. “I had a great time. I plan to be back hopefully in the near future. Kansas City is truly a great city.”
On July 24, the first night of the convention, there was a barbecue competition where local barbecue teams had a chance to compete. After the competition, the chefs had a chance to taste the barbecue. Many of them had never tried Kansas City barbecue before.
Before the trade show, the Schlagle High School marching band paraded them to their show. The president of the American Culinary Federation, Tom Macrina, was really impressed.
“I used to play the clarinet when I was young. They did a fantastic job. I really enjoyed it,” he said.
Other chefs were equally impressed.
The ACF has a program called Chef ‘n Child, where members go out to schools to teach the children how eat healthy. This is their way of combating the serious social problem of obesity, said chef Mark Webster, president of the Greater Kansas City Chefs Association.
Also at the convention, culinary students from the culinary program at the Kansas City Kansas Community College volunteered, giving Kansas City, Kan., national and international attention.
At the final awards banquet held Monday evening, Johnson County Community College culinary students received the top student award. This is one of the group’s most prestigious awards. Culinary schools from all over the world competed for this honor.
Mark Webster, president of the Greater Kansas City Chefs Association, said, “Kansas City is getting to be a culinary Mecca.” This is mainly due to the many culinary schools in the Greater Kansas City area.
Many of those who attended said they were planning to bring their families to Kansas City after the convention is over.
“I plan to be back. The food is great and the people are fantastic. I had a great time,” said chef Tom Macrina, president of the American Culinary Federation.