Jury in Louisiana Convicts Former Assistant District Attorney and Two Associates for Bank Fraud and Money Laundering
New Orleans, Louisiana – A jury in Louisiana has convicted a former assistant district attorney and two of his associates for bank fraud and money laundering.
On April 26, 2023, U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that a federal jury has convicted Glenn E. Diaz, age 72, of Arabi, Louisiana; Peter J. “Pete” Jenevein, age 58, of Panama City, Florida; and Mark S. Grelle, age 69, of Chalmette, Louisiana, of federal bank fraud and money laundering charges related to defrauding First NBC Bank (“Bank”), the New Orleans-based bank that failed in April 2017.
Diaz formerly worked as an assistant district attorney for St. Bernard Parish for almost thirty years, and all three defendants are originally from St. Bernard Parish. The defendants defrauded First NBC Bank of more than $550,000 between June and December 2016.
Diaz was found guilty of bank fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, and eight counts of bank fraud by the jury. The jury deadlocked on 21 counts of bank fraud against Diaz, prompting the court to declare a mistrial. Jenevein was found guilty of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and 29 counts of bank fraud. Grelle was found guilty of bank fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, and 17 counts of bank fraud. Grelle was found not guilty of one count of bank fraud.
The six-day trial was presided over by U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo, during which the government summoned twelve witnesses and submitted over 450 exhibits. According to the evidence presented, from at least April 2016 through December 20, 2016, Diaz, Jenevein, and Grelle colluded to defraud First NBC Bank by submitting a series of phony invoices and other forged papers for work purportedly performed in Diaz’s Florida warehouse.
Diaz was a First NBC Bank customer from 2006 until the bank’s closure in 2017. Diaz had been overdrawing his bank account for ostensibly business costs since late 2015. Diaz, in fact, was depositing these overdrafts into his personal account at a different bank. Officers from First NBC Bank requested additional information about the use of overdrafts from Diaz in April 2016. Bank inspectors demanded invoices from Diaz in June 2016 as proof that he was using bank monies to renovate the Florida warehouse. Diaz utilized this warehouse as security for loans from First NBC Bank. As a result, numerous of Diaz’s checks that did not involve warehouse renovations were denied by bank officers.
Diaz had Jenevein and Grelle create bogus invoices for warehouse renovations reportedly completed by Grelle’s company, Grelle Underground Services LLC, in response to the Bank’s request. Based on these invoices, bank officers sanctioned the overdrafts. Diaz, on the other hand, would write a check to Grelle’s company in payment of the bogus invoice, and Grelle would then send a check back to Diaz. Diaz would then deposit this check into his personal account at JPMorgan Chase bank in order to keep it hidden from First NBC. Diaz then spent the money on personal items unrelated to the warehouse, such as vintage vehicles, plastic surgery, precious metals, and online shopping. Diaz, Jenevein, and Grelle completed 17 round-trip transactions using Grelle’s accounts. Diaz and Jenevein also made up other bogus invoices and credit card itemizations alleging false company expenses, as well as made up firm names to make Diaz’s personal purchases appear to be genuine Florida construction expenses. Invoices from non-existent companies and phony invoices from legitimate companies were also among the forgeries.
In the case of bank fraud conspiracy and each count of bank fraud, the defendants risk a possible term of up to 30 years in prison, a maximum fine of $1,000,000 or twice the defendants’ gross gain or twice the defendants’ gross loss, and up to five years of supervised release. The defendants face up to 20 years in prison, a maximum punishment of $500,000 or double the value of the property involved in the transaction, and up to three years of supervised release for money laundering conspiracy. The defendants must pay a $100 required special assessment fee for each count of conviction. Judge Milazzo set the sentencing date for July 26, 2023, at 9:30 a.m.
U.S. Attorney Evans said, “This case reaffirms our office’s commitment to prosecuting white-collar criminals who act as if their wealth or power puts them above the law. Glenn Diaz’s claims of owning tens of million of dollars of assets and property throughout the United States and elsewhere in North America did not give him the right to lie to a bank. As co-defendants Peter Jenevein and Mark Grelle discovered after today’s jury verdict, our office will hold anyone accountable for defrauding and conspiring to defraud a financial institution and commit money laundering through acts of deceit. I commend the First NBC trial team for its continued work prosecuting the individuals who defrauded First NBC Bank.”
“We are pleased to work with our law enforcement partners in bringing to justice those who conspire to defraud financial institutions regulated and supervised by the Federal Reserve Board,” said Stephen Donnelly, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Eastern Region, Office of Inspector General for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
“As a former prosecutor, Mr. Diaz knew his conduct was illegal and egregious,” said FBI New Orleans Special Agent in Charge Douglas A. Williams, Jr. “Diaz and the other defendants in this case engaged in a scheme to enrich themselves. The FBI thanks its partners for their assistance in achieving justice in this case.”
The Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New Orleans Field Office all looked into the issue. The prosecution is led by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew R. Payne and Nicholas D. Moses of the Financial Crimes Unit, J. Ryan McLaren of the Appellate Unit, and Rachal Cassagne of the Violent Crime Unit.