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Ex-Chief Lending Officer Of NJ Bank Gets 18 Months In Fed Pen For Lying On SBA Loan

James Bortolotti
James Bortolotti Photo Credit: SBA / INSET: LinkedIn

A former New Jersey bank chief lending officer from Pennsylvania was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison Wednesday for lying to the Small Business Administration, authorities said.

James Bortolotti, 53, will have to serve just about all of the term because there's no parole in the federal prison system.

Bortolotti signed off on an application to the SBA for a guaranteed $3.75 million on $5 million in loans given to a small Robbinsville business by First Choice Bank in Trenton even though he knew the information about the company's credit-worthiness was false, Acting U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Rachael A. Honig said.

The SBA program was aimed at giving banks and other lenders incentives to loan money to small businesses by guaranteeing 75% of the loan, Honig said.

Bortolotti, who was an executive vice-president at the bank, took a deal from the government rather than face trial, pleading guilty in January 2020 to "knowingly making false statements for the purpose of influencing the action of the SBA," the U.S. attorney said.

In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp sentenced Bortolotti via videoconference Wednesday in Trenton to three years of supervised release.

The judge also ordered him to pay restitution of $3.17 million to the SBA under the terms of the plea deal.

Honig credited special agents of the SBA-Office of the Inspector General (SBA-OIG) Eastern Region, the FDIC-Office of the Inspector General (FDIC-OIG), special agents of the FBI in Newark and special agents of the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG) with the investigation leading to the plea, secured by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee M. Cortes Jr., Chief of her Health Care Fraud Unit in Newark.

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