BILLINGS- The former market president of Rocky Mountain Bank pleaded not guilty Thursday to federal charges of defrauding the bank by approving a loan to the disgraced developer of Billings largest mansion.
Stephen Phillip Casher, 45 of Billings, faces two counts of bank fraud, one count of money laundering and one count of blackmail, according to news release from U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme.
Federal attorney allege in court documents that Casher, who oversaw the bank’s Billings branches, approved two loans to Larry Price, who pleaded guilty in December to embezzling $20 million from three companies to build the giant home in the Ironwood subdivision.
The two loans from Rocky Mountain Bank were made in September 2014 and February 2016. In each case, Casher did not tell Rocky Mountain Bank officials that he and others had made other loans to Price, according to Alme.
Price, a former coal executive, was accused using the money he stole from Signal Peak Energy, his one-time employer, Three Blind Mice LLC, a Wyoming capital firm, and Ninety M, another Wyoming company, to build the 26,000-square-foot mansion on Canyonwood Drive.
Prosecutors also state that Casher was involved in a deal involving property derived from bank fraud, presumably the mansion, and that he received a share of the property under threat of informing.
If convicted of the most serious crime, Casher faces a maximum 30 years in prison, a $1 million fine and five years of supervised release.
Casher’s tenure at Rocky Mountain Bank ended in January 2017, though it’s unclear whether he was fired.
He is currently operating a venture capital firm in Billings, according to his LinkedIn account.