Tim Vaughn has entered a plea deal admitting to defrauding a Longview bank.
Sentencing terms of the deal against the former chairman of the Republican Party of Gregg County and six-term White Oak mayor have been sealed by a federal judge, but Vaughn has agreed to forfeit $146,000 in cash.
An FBI investigation found that Vaughn forged signatures on loans with First Bank & Trust-East Texas on March 18, 2016, and with Texas Bank and Trust on March 29, 2016, according to records. Proceeds from the latter loan were applied to outstanding balances on other loans issued to Vaughn and his businesses by the bank, resulting in a loss of more than $95,000.
On May 3 — 10 days before the case was to go to trial — Vaughn pleaded guilty to Count 1 of a four-count indictment charging him with making a false statement to First Bank & Trust-East Texas.
A federal grand jury indicted Vaughn on Feb. 20 on four counts under his full legal name — Timmy Lynn Vaughn. He was charged with making material false statements and committing aggravated identity theft at the two financial institutions.
In both transactions with the banks, Vaughn used identification for another person with the initials D.V. while making the false statement to the federally insured financial institutions, according to the indictment.
According to prosecutors, Vaughn represented that the borrower of a line of credit at First Bank & Trust-East Texas authorized the application, but Vaughn knew that the borrower’s signature was forged on the promissory note and other required documentation.
At Texas Bank and Trust, Vaughn made a false statement to influence the bank’s actions on a commercial loan, as he represented that the co-owner of pledged collateral had executed a notarized deed of trust for the real property, “when in truth and in fact, as (Vaughn) well knew, the co-owner’s signature was forged,” according to the indictment.
A conviction for making false statements to a bank carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison and up to a $1 million fine.
Aggravated identity theft carries a sentence of up to two years in prison and no more than $250,000 in fines, but the sentence must run consecutively to any other sentence that is imposed upon a defendant.
No further hearings have been scheduled in the case. The prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney L. Frank Coan Jr., did not respond to a voice message requesting comment Thursday.
Vaughn was Gregg County Republican Party chairman until December 2016, when he resigned five months into his second term, saying he was pursuing career plans in North Central Texas.
He also was chairman of the Longview Regional Medical Center board of trustees as recently as 2015, served on the Northeast Texas Regional Mobility Authority board of directors and was mayor of White Oak from 1996 until 2008.
According to his biographical information at netrma.org, Vaughn served 18 years on the Longview Metropolitan Planning Organization executive board, was appointed to the 12-member State Rail Planning Task Force for the Texas Department of Transportation, chaired the board for Gregg and Harrison County Children’s Advocacy Center and served on the Texas Association of Business Board of Directors as well as its Transportation Committee.