Banker convicted of approving $16M in loans to win favor with Paul Manafort

A federal jury convicted the former chief of a Chicago bank on charges he approved millions of dollars of risky loans to Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for President Donald Trump, in an effort to gain a top post in the Trump administration.

Stephen Calk, former chairman and chief executive of Federal Savings Bank, was convicted on Tuesday of financial institution bribery and conspiracy, a spokesperson for the US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan confirmed.

Prosecutors had said Calk helped arrange $16 million of loans to Manafort that later went into default.

“We are very disappointed by the verdict and will be pursuing all available legal remedies, including an appeal,” a lawyer for Calk said in a statement. Calk had pleaded not guilty.

Paul Manafort in handcuffs
The loans given to Paul Manafort — seen here heading to an arraignment in 2017 — were high-risk.
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Prosecutors alleged Manafort recommended to Trump’s post-election transition team that Calk, a 16-year Army veteran, be appointed Army secretary, the service’s top civilian job.

Calk interviewed in January 2017 for a job as undersecretary of the Army but never joined the administration.

Manhattan US Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement: “Calk used the federally insured bank he ran as his personal piggybank to try and buy himself prestige and power. Today’s verdict sends the message that corruption at the highest levels of federally regulated financial institutions will be prosecuted by this Office.”

Manhattan US Attorney Audrey Strauss
Manhattan US Attorney Audrey Strauss said Calk used Chicago’s Federal Savings Bank as his “personal piggybank.”
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Calk is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 10, 2022.

Manafort was convicted of tax evasion and bank fraud and sentenced to 7-1/2 years in prison, but was later released to home confinement. Trump then pardoned Manafort in December.

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