Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Porter Bingham Pleads Not Guilty

Disgraced municipal financial advisor Porter Bingham pleaded not guilty in federal court today.  A grand jury indicted him recently for bank fraud, money laundering, and wire fraud that were allegedly committed in a $2 million bond sale for Rolling Fork in 2015.

The story began back in 2015.  JJ reported on January 5, 2018:

Rolling Fork was interested in financing infrastructure improvements with bonds.  The city hired Malachi Financial Products of Roswell, Georgia  to be its financial advisor.  Malachi is owned by Porter Bingham.  Mr. Bingham recommended that the city sell bonds to raise $2 million.  However, the bond sale was lowered to $1.1 million due to Rolling Fork's limited borrowing capacity. 

Most aldermen and councilmen lack the financial expertise to understand bond deals and are thus ripe targets for some good ole fashioned plucking. Rolling Fork was no exception as the bond pimps proceeded to loot the bond sale.

Check out the fees* on this bond deal:

Malachi Financial Products: $55,000
Bonwick Capital Partners (Underwriter0: $130,000
Chambers & Gaylor (Bond counsel): $25,000
Mississippi Development Bank: $2,500
Balch & Bingham: (MDB Counsel): $5,000
Allen Woodard (Issuer's Counsel): $10,000
Trustmark (Bond Trustee): $2,500
Jackson Advocate: $150
Spence Flatguard (State bond attorney): $1,000
Munideals, Inc: $1,200
Total: $232,349. 
Percentage of Bond issue: 21%
Rolling Fork has a population of 2,250. The city could have simply obtained a  million dollar loan from the bank. Only the services of a bond counsel and city attorney would have been required.   However, Mr. Bingham and crew talked the town into obtaining a $2 million bond issue through the Mississippi Development Bank.  Going through the development bank meant an underwriter, state bond counsel, issuer's counself, and other services and thus fees were required.  The more the merrier as everyone got a piece of the pie.

The Securities and Exchange Commission sued Malachi and Porter Bingham for fraud last year for fraud and illegally acting as a municipal financial advisor.  The SEC disclosed he never passed the required Series 50 test to become a municipal financial advisor although passage was not required until September 2017.  He also took a kickback from an underwriter he recommended to the town.  The SEC permanently banned Bingham from the municipal bond business and suspended the underwriter's license for six months.

 The FBI arrested Bingham last month in Atlanta.  He posted a $15,000 bond.  He admitted to Magistrate Linda Anderson that although he completed four years of college, he did not have a degree.  He said his mother was murdered during his senior year of college and he never completed the graduation requirements.* Over a dozen friends and family of Bingham attended the arraignment.

Judge Anderson set his trial to begin on May 6 although it will undoubtedly be continued.  Prosecutor Dave Fulcher represented the U.S.A. Bingham faces the following penalties:

* Bank Fraud:  Prison sentence of 30 years or less and/or fine of $1 million or less.
* Wire Fraud: Prison sentence of 20 years or less and/or fine of $250,000 or less.
* Money Laundering: Prison sentence of 10 years or less and/or fine of $250,000 or less.

 Attorney Philip Hearn represents the defendant. 

Kingfish note: The former municipal money man sat in a seat that was far removed from the seats of power to which he grew accustomed.   Despite the hundreds of thousands - maybe millions - of dollars earned in fees over the years, Bingham faces prison over a pittance of $20,000.

Bingham and his little group preyed upon majority-black governments for years in Mississippi.  He would swoop in as the financial advisor promising money honey while Tony Stovall (Rice Financial Products and then Bonwick) and Tony Gaylor (as bond counsel) would surf on his coattails into the deal.  Prime examples of this posse's plundering are the 2015 JPS and Canton School District bond deals.

Most of the supervisors, school board members, and aldermen lack any financial expertise whatsoever so rely upon these guys for their advice they did.  The advice means they get cleaned out while everyone gets paaaiiiiid.  Woe be the government that wised up and kicked out these scoundrels.  They would get on WMPR on Friday nights and proceed to play the Uncle Tom card and trash them for not helping minority businesses.  Meanwhile, governments around Mississippi are discovering to their chagrin the money honey turned into fool's gold as they are forced to pay the piper. 

* His mother, Alberta Bingham, was a popular teacher at Jim Hill High School.  She was murdered in 1985 at home.

Earlier Posts
 Porter Bingham indicted.
 Harvey's time bomb blows up on Antar.
SEC bans Porter Bingham & Malachi.
SEC suspends underwriter on Rolling Fork bonds.
The rape of Rolling Fork.
SEC sues Malachi for Rolling Fork fraud. Says muni advisor was not a muni advisor.
School bonds are...... golden showers.
Malachi & Blackmon gouging Rolling Fork?
Malachi wants half a million dollars to draft budget & review JPS finances.
The suicide of Hinds County, Part II
Malachi "audits" Hinds County finances.
Siemen's Contract & Fees
Hinds County pays Malachi $66,000 for review of Byram-Clinton corridor project.
Hinds County Supes vote to pay Malachi to study budget.
Byram-Clinton corridor project in trouble?
Hinds County rehires Malachi
Major fireworks at Hinds BOS today.
Porter made over half a million dollars on bond swap.
Jackson pays nearly $500,000 to save $1.1 million.
Uh-oh, the Bond Pimp is back.
Jackson's investment advisor finally decides to register.
Jackson paying Financial Advisor $80,000.
Jackson will pay extra $8 million to refinance bonds.
Clarion-Ledger on Convention Center Hotel Deal
More on Hinds County interest rate swaps.


Anonymous said...

Yet he remains loved and is a role model to the AA community-

Anonymous said...

Why are the Blackmon’s not indicted? Barbara’s made $35k from our city she was not due. Barbara Blackmon is a con artist who deserves to be in jail.

Anonymous said...

Another bad guy caught by Jim Hood's corruption fighting machine. Scruggs, Epps, Adams, Bingham. Way to go Jim!

Anonymous said...

The series 50 exam wasn’t administered until January of 2016 and wasn’t required for municipal advisors until sometime in 2017. So not having the series 50 wouldn’t in it self disqualify him from providing municipal advisory services to Rolling Fork in 2015, since the series 50 wasn’t a thing in 2015. A whole lot of other stuff would disqualify him, but not having the series 50 wasn’t one of them.

Kingfish said...

Going by the SEC complaint.

Kingfish said...

However, the SEC began requiring registration of MFA's in 2014.

Anonymous said...

The only thing Porter Bingham and his cohorts lack is a "good ole boy' network. Black hustlers have never gotten over that hurdle and that's been their downfall. Although black majority governments provide opportunity for a quick score that's never been available before, it's only fool's gold unless the contractor has allies willing to run interference in the surrounding legal community. Especially with state and/or federal law enforcement. No chance. No matter how inviting the situation might look they will ultimately find out they are not the "good ole boys". They don't have the "complexion for the connection".

Kingfish said...

Bull. They were the good ole boy network.

Anonymous said...

10:25 KF Sorry, but they were not good ole boys and they certainly had no network. There was just wide open opportunity. The good ole boy network in the south was enormously successful because there was little or no real opposition. It WAS the system. County sheriff's were the best example. They ran their fiefdoms without real opposition although everybody, everybody, knew about it. Top to bottom. Good ole boys. Outside law enforcement... a joke. That's a network. These black guys...get the orange jumpsuits ready.

Anonymous said...

The 'good ole boy network' in the business (and municipal contracting) community is known as the 'brotherhood' in the law enforcement community. They come together and protect each other like a nest of yellow-jackets, regardless of the issue - good, bad, indifferent, legal, illegal, reputable, questionable, ethical, unethical....makes no damned difference whatsoever. And, as was said above, everybody, EVERY BODY, knows it, top to bottom. And what's so bad about that is...when they read this, they'll chuckle. Nothing has changed since Archie Bunkers portrayal of the fifties.

Anonymous said...

Porter fleeced Harvey/Jackson for some serious bucks.
Harvey gave him the keys to the city coffers.

Anonymous said...

If I understand correctly a few of the post here are complaining that black bad actors have not been afforded a good ole boys network like the corrupt people before them. Not sure that is what MLK has in mind in terms of equality. Moral relativism at its lowest denominator and made worse when considering the scam seemed to prey on majority black township governance. Ignorant and/or corrupt city officials seems to be a major necessary component of these swindles. It comes off as disingenuous to argue that one race deserves the right to be corrupt because the other race got a chance to be amoral in the past.

Anonymous said...

White = Good ole Boy network
Black = Street cred

Anonymous said...

Harvey was in the business before he became Mayor. I feel sure Harvey and Porter together fleeced the City. Elected officials do not give away public money without good reason.

Anonymous said...

All this discussion about the "good ol boy network" of the old days is obviously not being made by people who actually lived during those days.

Certainly there was some of what is being referenced, just as there still is today. But there were several that might have thought that they were members of such a club that found differently, and became members of the Club Fed (generally not caught up by state regulators, just as they still are not today.)

The current attempt by some of the black 'entrepreneurs' to benefit off the same concept is running into the same result - some are getting caught and shipped off - while others are still surviving and thriving (harvey, tony, socrates, derrick just to name a few local members).

Times haven't changed - some got caught in the old days, and some are getting caught today. Guess the only difference now is that the black ones are trying to justify their crookedness by pointing fingers across the circle.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know what happened to Porter? He was one of my neighbors in Roswell, Ga.

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