Illinois man sentenced for making false statements on loan application

Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Roger Strong, one of the owners of The Lock Company, discusses his business that was to locate in Sikeston during a press conference Nov. 21, 2013 at Sikeston City Hall. Strong was sentenced to 30 months in prison on Tuesday after making false statements o
David Jenkins/Standard Democrat

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. -- An Illinois man was sentenced to 30 months in prison after making false statements on a loan application in Scott County.

Appearing before US District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh Jr., Roger Allen Strong Jr., 57, of New Athens, Ill., was sentenced Tuesday on one felony count of false statement on a loan application and one felony count of bank fraud.

During his guilty plea in August, Strong admitted that he made false statements on a loan application to obtain financing in the amount of $2,990,300 for a Small Business Administration guaranteed loan from the First Midwest Bank of the Ozarks in Scott County to The Lock Company, LLC, for the purpose of establishing and operating a lock manufacturing plant in Scott County.

The loan application also contained material false representations as to the purposes to which the loan proceeds would be used. Strong falsely represented that over $500,000 of loan proceeds would be utilized for construction costs. Yet within days after the initial loan disbursement, over $750,000 in loan proceeds were used to pay off bank loans on unrelated properties owned by other companies. An SBA eligibility questionnaire submitted by Strong during the loan application process specifically and falsely represented to SBA and the First Midwest Bank of the Ozarks that the loan proceeds would not be used to refinance debt.

After the loan was approved, Strong requested that First Midwest Bank of the Ozarks disburse loan proceeds to be used for operations of The Lock Company, LLC, for the purpose of manufacturing locks pursuant to the terms of the loan agreement, when Strong knew that in excess of $600,000 of the loan proceeds were going to be spent for a purpose contrary to the terms of the loan agreement and unrelated to the manufacture of locks by The Lock Company, LLC.

Strong held a press conference in Sikeston on Nov. 21, 2013, at Sikeston City Hall where he announced that The Lock Company would open a production facility in Sikeston, purchasing the 50,000 square foot building at 835 W. Wakefield, with the industry initially supposed to employ 25 people.

"We made a $3 million investment into the town and we think that is probably going to double in the next several years," Strong said at the press conference.

As part of his sentence, Strong is responsible for, and obligated to pay, full restitution to First Midwest Bank of the Ozarks and the Small Business Administration, for all unpaid amounts of the loan.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Small Business Administration, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Assistant United States Attorney Paul W. Hahn handled the prosecution for the Government.

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