Covington contractor pleads guilty in loan case

A Covington contractor pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to filing false records with a bank to obtain a $3.45 million loan.

Raymond Grow III, 40, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Helen G. Berrigan to one count of making a false statement in his loan application to First American Bank and Trust on behalf of his company, Master Built Construction, U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente said in a news release.

S entencing will be July 31. Grow faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine up to $1 million, Boente said.

Grow applied for the $3.45 million loan to develop 22 acres of La. 22 in Ponchatoula, called The Landing subdivision, and the loan was approved May 10, 2006, Boente said.

As part of the process, Grow submitted a false wetlands determination letter that he created by cutting and pasting another wetlands determination letter issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Boente said.

The letter was essential to the application and the corps later stated it never conducted a wetlands determination check on the land, Boente said.

The FBI investigated the case and Grow was charged in a bill of information.