John Steffen: Owner of Pyramid Construction Indicted for Fraud

Categories: Bidness, Crime, News
One of the St. Louis' biggest downtown developers of the past decade was indicted this morning on federal fraud charges.

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John Steffen (left) and fellow St. Louis developer Craig Heller receive a preservation award from Laura Bush in May 2007.
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The United States Attorney's Office charges John R. Steffen with a scheme to defraud The Business Bank of St. Louis by pledging Brownfield Remediation Tax Credits as collateral on a loan, and selling them to use the proceeds for other projects.

The indictment alleges that in May 2007, Steffen used the tax credits as collateral to obtain a loan from The Business Bank of St. Louis to one of his subsidiaries, MB Lofts, in the amount of $1,115,633. The purpose of the loan was for environmental cleanup and remediation of the Metropolitan Building. On December 21, 2007, Steffen fraudulently sold $827,415 of tax credits without the knowledge of The Business Bank, and used the proceeds for other projects.

Steffen, 52, St. Louis, was indicted by a federal grand jury on one felony count of bank fraud. If convicted, bank fraud carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and/or fines up to $1,000,000.

In 2008, a financially overextended Steffen was forced to transfer ownership of a dozen projects valued at more than $600 million.

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