Wisconsin bank accused of complicity in Cook fraud
by DAN BROWNING , Star Tribune
Associated Bank either helped Trevor Cook defraud investors or simply turned a blind eye, a suit says.
The receiver rounding up assets in what federal prosecutors describe as the worst investment fraud scheme in the history of Minnesota filed a heavily redacted lawsuit Tuesday in Minneapolis accusing Associated Bank of helping convicted fraudster Trevor Cook carry out a $194 million Ponzi scheme.
Receiver R.J. Zayed said in the complaint that Cook and his associates needed "a cooperative bank" that would allow sham deposits to be posted in the names of fictitious business entities and create bogus account documentation with false information to get around federal money-laundering and anti-terrorism funding laws. He alleges they found that in Associated Bank of Green Bay, Wis., which took in more than $79 million in investor funds.
The bank's lawyers did not respond to a message seeking comment Tuesday night. When the bank was sued in 2009 by a group of Cook's investors alleging negligence, a bank spokeswoman declined to comment on the specific allegations of a pending lawsuit.