Former football standout Marshall admits bank fraud

Special
Former Hephzibah High School football player Arthur Marshall filed Chapter 11 for Custom Contractors and Associates.

The former professional football player who got his start as a Hephzibah High School standout pleaded guilty Wednesday to bank fraud.

Arthur J. Marshall Jr., 40, admitted he defrauded two banks in 2007 when he obtained loans to build homes in the West Lake subdivision in Columbia County.

Mr. Marshall entered his guilty plea to two counts in U.S. District Court in Augusta. In exchange for that admission, federal prosecutors agreed to dismiss the remaining 20 criminal counts and to limit any potential for restitution to $2.5 million or less.

Mr. Marshall, who has moved to Miami, told the judge that he is now a business consultant. He will remain free on bond pending sentencing. A date has not been set.

Mr. Marshall was indicted in June on charges of bank and mail fraud and money laundering.

He was accused of committing mortgage fraud in the purchase of several properties in Columbia and Richmond counties in 2007 and 2008.

The indictment followed Mr. Marshall's bankruptcy petition and a series of civil lawsuits that accused him of deceit in business dealings. His bankruptcy petition listed about $11 million in debts.

The charges to which Mr. Marshall pleaded guilty Wednesday concern lots on Firethorn Court in West Lake, said FBI Special Agent Rebecca Harrison.

A man identified as "JP" gave Mr. Marshall a $100,000 check, which Mr. Marshall used to convince banks to lend him the money to build a house for "JP,'' and he used the same check to convince another bank to lend him money for a project that "JP" was not involved in, Agent Harrison said.

Bank fraud is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $1 million, but maximum sentences are rarely imposed in federal courts. The federal sentencing guidelines advise the judges to fashion sentences based on the elements of a crime, a defendant's participation in the crimes and his character and history.

Mr. Marshall was a star of the Hephzibah football team. He played for the University of Georgia and graduated in 1991. He also played professional ball for several years before returning to the Augusta area to run a series of businesses.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.