PENSACOLA - A couple of former Destin residents are facing prison terms for bank fraud and a money laundering scheme.
A federal jury in Pensacola found 64-year old Gary Wayne Thomas of Daphne, Alabama, and his 40-year old son, Brian Keith Thomas of Birmingham, guilty of laundering $4.5 million dollars in loans to off-shore banks in the Cayman Islands and Belize. Shortly after hiding the money in 2008, the men stopped paying on the $56 million dollars in loans they received from New South Federal Savings Bank.
Over the last three years, Gary Thomas wired $2.1 million dollars from the off-shore banks to five Destin bank accounts opened by Brian Thomas and others. Each transaction was under $10,000 to avoid federal reporting requirements.
Gary Thomas used some of these funds to buy five airplanes, vehicles, and homes in Destin and Fairhope, Alabama. The government has seized the planes, approximately $387,413 in cash, which came from the sale of his home in Fairhope, and a $60,000 Hyundai Equus
Gary Thomas pleaded guilty and will be sentenced January 22, 2014. He faces up to 105-years in prison.
Brian Thomas was convicted in July. He faces up to 65-years in prison, when he's sentenced November 15.