Judge affirms $72M ruling against Huntington Bank

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) -- A federal bankruptcy judge in Grand Rapids has affirmed his earlier finding that Huntington Bank owes $73 million plus interest for turning a blind eye to fraud at a high-tech company.

Huntington loaned money to Grand Rapids-based CyberNET. Judge Jeffrey Hughes says the bank should have known that CyberNET and its affiliates were committing fraud and raised a flag about the problems.

Hughes issued a ruling last Friday recommending that a U.S. district judge order the bank to pay the money to creditors.

Bank spokesman Matt Samson tells The Grand Rapids Press it will continue contesting the claim.

CyberNET borrowed money for computers but spent it on lavish personal expenses by owner Barton Watson and wife Kristin.

Watson killed himself in 2004 after the FBI raided CyberNET. His wife was imprisoned.

Published: Wed, Apr 4, 2012