EL DORADO, AR—Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced today that Jason Christopher Knight, 31, of El Dorado, Arkansas, pleaded guilty to seven counts of bank fraud involving Dr. Shailesh Vora’s medical practice and hotel and motel entities and BancorpSouth. Knight, a former bookkeeper for Dr. Vora defrauded the businesses and the bank out of approximately $540,000 over an eight-year period of time. The Honorable U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey, accepted the guilty plea in U.S. District Court in El Dorado.
United States Attorney Conner Eldridge commented, “We will continue to prosecute those who commit fraud and abuse positions of trust in order to enrich themselves. In this case, a bookkeeper used his position to defraud his employer and a local bank of a substantial sum of money. This conduct is egregious, and he has been held accountable.”
According to information in the plea agreement, Knight was employed as a bookkeeper for Neurology and Sleep Disorder Center of South Arkansas (NSDC) and Akshar LLC, a hotel venture that operated hotels and motels in Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi. Both entities conducted business in El Dorado, Arkansas, and were owned by Dr. Shailesh Vora. As bookkeeper, Knight was authorized to issue checks drawn from several NSDC and Akshar LLC bank accounts.
From June 2002 to 2009, Knight used his position to draw approximately 215 checks and $540,298.24 from several of the companies and BancorpSouth checking accounts without Dr. Vora’s authorization. Knight deposited the funds into a BancorpSouth account in the name of an investment company he controlled called Knight’s Investments.
For each count, Knight faces a maximum sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment and up to a $1,000,000 fine.
The case was investigated by the El Dorado FBI and the El Dorado Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney, David Ferguson, prosecuted the case for the United States.