December 3, 2020

Former owner of Mississippi grand mansion sentenced to federal prison

The man who once owned one of the grandest historic mansions in Mississippi has been sentenced to 12 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $15 million.

Michael Allen Worley, 60, who owned and operated the historic house Dunleith, The Castle restaurant and Bowie’s restaurant in Natchez for a number of years, has been sentenced to 144 months in federal prison.

Worley pleaded guilty earlier this month to bank fraud and wire fraud, according to an Oct. 14 press release. Worley was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge.

U.S. District Judge John W. deGravelles further sentenced Worley to serve three years supervised release following his prison term.

Worley was also ordered to pay $15,751,905.26 to his victims. He was taken into custody and remanded to federal prison following his sentencing.

As part of his guilty plea, Worley admitted to schemes to defraud banks and private equity firms by submitting multiple false and fraudulent loan applications on behalf of him and businesses he owned, operated or controlled.

Between 2014 and 2017, Worley obtained more than $27 million in new loans from federally insured banks in Baton Rouge and around the country through false and fraudulent statements and representations, he admitted to the court.

Through a similar scheme, Worley obtained at least an additional $13 million from private equity firms in Louisiana and Texas, also through false and fraudulent means.

He inflated his assets, understated and omitted his liabilities, misrepresented his income and other things, including how he intended to use the millions in loan proceeds.

In some instances, Worley and his businesses defaulted on the loans, causing the financial institutions and private equity funds to suffer financial losses of more than $15 million.

Worley filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January 2018.

The Dunleith property has since been purchased by The J Collection, a New Orleans based hotel group, and is undergoing extensive renovations.