Montgomery Banker, Charles Gregory Hardy Pleads Guilty To Disclosing Existence Of Grand Jury Subpoena
Montgomery, AL (STL.News) On Thursday, May 13, 2021, Charles Gregory Hardy, Jr., 37, of Montgomery, Alabama, appeared in federal court and pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing a criminal investigation as an officer of a financial institution, announced Acting United States Attorney Sandra J. Stewart.
According to court documents, during the spring of 2020, Hardy was an employee of Valley National Bank. In April of that year, the bank received a grand jury subpoena from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) seeking records pertaining to the accounts of one of the bank’s customers.
Grand jury subpoenas are confidential documents and bank employees are, in most cases, prohibited by federal law from disclosing a subpoena’s existence to the customer whose records are being sought.
As a bank employee, Hardy learned about the subpoena. Afterwards, Hardy sent a text message to the customer named in the subpoena that read, “I got a subpoena for your financial records.” A few days later, Hardy went to the customer’s office and, while there, sent a photo of a part of the grand jury subpoena from his personal telephone to the customer. By sending the subpoena to the customer, Hardy informed the customer of the existence of an otherwise confidential federal grand jury investigation.
At some date in the coming months, Hardy will be scheduled for a sentencing hearing where he faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison, as well as monetary penalties.
“Every day, across the country, law enforcement agents and prosecutors rely on bank employees to maintain the utmost discretion when dealing with grand jury subpoenas for financial records,” stated Acting United States Attorney Stewart. “Such financial records can provide valuable evidence of criminal activity. However, disclosure—like that which occurred here—can cause targets to destroy evidence or, even worse, threaten witnesses I hope that this case is a reminder of the duty of secrecy that is placed on all bank employees who receive grand jury subpoenas.”
“This investigation has shown the unfortunate reality that people in all professional positions can become involved in criminal activity,” stated DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Towanda Thorne-James. “People who commit such crimes will be held accountable.”
The DEA’s Tactical Diversion Squad investigated this case, with assistance from the Shelby County, Alabama Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan S. Ross and Alice S. LaCour are prosecuting the case.