William Everett Nichols of Alexandria, president and owner of First Fidelity Mortgage Inc., was sentenced Thursday to six years in federal prison and ordered to pay $3.9 million in restitution for bank fraud. Nichols, 56, prepared fraudulent notes by forging signatures of borrowers, according to acting U.S. Attorney William Flanagan. 

Nichols pled guilty to bank fraud in November. The FBI investigation of Nichols and First Fidelity, dba Southern Funding, showed that Southern was involved in the mortgage lending business and provided mortgages to customers in central Louisiana. Sabine State Bank and Peoples State Bank, both of Many, provided credit to Southern for mortgages that were secured by customer notes pledged by Southern funding to the banks. Nichols also had private investors as a funding source.

Nichols forged signatures of borrowers and provided the fabricated notes as collateral. He is responsible for a total amount of loss to banks and private investors of $3.9 million. The case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook.

Thursday’s sentence was handed down by U. S. District Court Judge Donald E. Walter in Shreveport.

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