WASHINGTON, March 24, 2017 — A North Carolina man is up in arms after a House committee invited the president of a local bank which retaliated against him and covered up after his small business was embezzled from to speak on small business issues.
The House Small Business Committee Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations earlier this month asked Ted Ashby, President of Surrey Bank & Trust, to testify at a hearing regarding a Small Business Association flagship 7(a) loan program.
The choice is an odd one to Neil Shelton, who said that Ashby led a campaign of retaliation and cover-up against him after money was embezzled from his small business, United Auto Sales. Shelton’s story was first covered by CDN in 2015.
In 2010, Shelton said an employee of his, Jody Inman, embezzled approximately $100,000 from his exotic car business, United Auto Sales.
Shelton complained to his bank, Surrey Bank & Trust in Mount Airy, North Carolina, seeking help to stop the embezzlement. The bank stalled rather than giving him paperwork necessary for a police investigation. Adding insult, Shelton was falsely arrested numerous times and was forced to close his business when checks allegedly written by Inman continued to bounce.
On September 22, 2010, Lieutenant Campbell of the Mount Airy Police Department came to the bank and spoke with Ashby for what was initially supposed to be a report for obtaining property under false pretenses against Neil Shelton, but as the conversation continued, Ashby backed away, refusing to file charges.
The police report stated:
“Mr. Ashby then started to explain that he did not want to file a police report because Shelton was suing Surrey Bank & Trust along with Ashby personally as well. Ashby explained that he wanted to use the lawsuit as leverage and convince Shelton to drop the lawsuit or he would file criminal charges.”
Since the alleged embezzlement, Inman has been arrested multiple times in at least two states including West Virginia on the charges of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, and obtaining property under false pretense in North Carolina.
Shelton eventually settled with Surrey Bank & Trust for an undisclosed amount though this was only the beginning of his problems. He found himself in the midst of divorce proceedings shortly after the settlement.
Staff at the House Small Business Committee would only say that they were unaware Ashby’s involvement in the embezzlement before Shelton called them to complain days after the hearing was held. Shelton said after told a committee staffer about what happened “they said they would forward the information to the members of Congress.”
House Small Business Committee staff told CDN that Ashby was invited to the hearing by the Democrats, but provided no official statement beyond that.
Indeed, according to a story in the local Mount Airy News, Ashby was invited by the Democrats:
“‘Ted was asked by the American Bankers Association, through one of the congressional ladies from Charlotte (Rep. Alma Adams, D-12th) to come to Washington to speak about small business loans and how it affects communities,’ Bob Moody of Mount Airy explained Tuesday.”
CDN left a message at Adams’ DC office but that message was left unreturned.
Emails to the American Bankers Association (ABA) and to Surrey Bank were also left unreturned.
Shelton said the lesson of this affair is that monopolies don’t work in local banking.
“I think this clearly shows how wrong things can go when you have a locally owned bank, which Ted Ashby owns the majority of … when they handle all the city’s accounts. And the overall corruption that takes place every day in America’s hometowns.”