Brandon L. Barber, age 37 of New York, and four other men were charged with federal crimes stemming from schemes to defraud involving several Northwest Arkansas real estate transactions and Barber’s bankruptcy case. Barber was arrested Wednesday morning in New York, N.Y. The other individuals charged are K. Vaughn Knight, a 46-year-old Fayetteville attorney; James Van Doren, a 37-year-old New York attorney; Jeff Whorton, age 45 of Johnson; and Brandon Rains, age 31 of Springdale.
A grand jury sitting in Fort Smith returned two indictments alleging several schemes to defraud banks, creditors, and the Federal Bankruptcy Court. Those schemes, as alleged in the indictments, include: (1) providing false and fraudulent financial information and statements to Legacy National Bank of Springdale in connection with loans to finance the Legacy Condominium building and project in Fayetteville; (2) providing false and fraudulent financial information and statements to Metropolitan National Bank of Little Rock and Enterprise Bank of St. Louis, Mo., in connection with loans to finance the Bellafont project in Fayetteville; (3) concealing assets and income from creditors and the bankruptcy court by transferring funds to Van Doren and Knight or accounts controlled by them and using those funds for Barber’s personal benefit and expenses; and (4) falsely and fraudulently representing purchase prices for real estate to First Federal Bank of Harrison to obtain loan amounts exceeding the actual purchase prices and thereby generating excess cash without the Bank’s knowledge or approval. The charged conduct generally occurred from 2005 through 2009.
Myrtle Laabs, local watercolorist, passed away March 9, just weeks shy of her 109th birthday. Initially, Laabs was going to be the visiting artist in April at The Fayetteville Underground, but now, they said they are honored her family has agreed to show her work at the gallery in a memorial show.
The show will take place on First Thursday, April 4, and will also feature “Local Flavor of Northwest Arkansas … recipes for hunger awareness” — a regional cookbook featuring some of NWA’s interesting people and their favorite recipes, to benefit local hunger.The Fayetteville Underground Art Gallery is located on the Downtown Fayetteville Square, 101 West Mountain, at the corner of Mountain and Block Streets.
Cat Rescue Complete!
Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge (TCWR) staff and interns celebrated completing the relocation of more than 30 big cats from the Riverglen Tiger Sanctuary in Mountainburg after moving the last two tigers to their new home in Eureka Springs on March 8. The journey began in late October with a call from the Crawford county sheriff’s office to Smith at TCWR. It has taken 128 days and over $300,000 in contributions to relocate all the Riverglen cats. TCWR is now home to 26 of the original exotic felines, bringing their number of big cats to 130+. Other cats from Riverglen, including black leopards and white tigers, were relocated to an approved refuge in Kansas.
“None of this would have been possible without the contributions from individuals and area businesses who believe in our mission,” said Smith.
Student Art Contest
Fifth- and seventh-grade Arkansas students are invited to participate in the 22nd annual “Preserve Our Past” art and essay invitational sponsored by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.
Students can enter an artwork or essay based on a historic Arkansas bridge that is at least 50 years old, focusing on how those properties reflect Arkansas history or why it is important to preserve the state’s historic places.
All entries must be postmarked by April 17, 2013. Winning entries will be displayed at the Old State House Museum in Little Rock throughout May, which is Arkansas Heritage Month. For more information or an entry form, call (501) 324-9786, send an e-mail inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org or download the form at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/preservation-services/youth-education/#art.