3:14PM

Recent Case Updates

3:02PM

Two Stockton (CA) men indicted in mortgage fraud allegations

In a press release from Sacramento CA, United States Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced today that a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging IFTIKHAR AHMAD, age 36, of Stockton, and MANPREET SINGH, age 24, formerly of Stockton, California now residing in Sacramento, with multiple counts of mail fraud in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme involving the “flipping” of multiple properties in the Stockton area. AHMAD was also charged with multiple counts of money laundering. Both defendants were previously arrested on a criminal complaint filed in connection with this investigation on August 16, 2007, and were released on bond.

The case is the product of an extensive investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division, and the California Franchise Tax Board.

According to Assistant United States Attorneys Benjamin B. Wagner and Courtney J. Linn, who are prosecuting the case, the indictment charges that from July 2003 through October 2005, the defendants engaged in a scheme to defraud Long Beach Mortgage in connection with residential real property purchases primarily in the Stockton, California area, by engaging in fraudulent sales transactions at inflated prices. The indictment charges that between July 2003 and January 2005, AHMAD, through a company called I & R Investment Properties LLC, fraudulently sold (and in one instance resold) ten residential real properties, obtaining in excess of $1.5 million in loan proceeds. In each of the transactions the purchaser financed the property with money borrowed from Long Beach Mortgage.

The indictment indicates that, as part of the scheme, AHMAD paid an associate several thousand dollars for recruiting straw purchasers to participate in the real property transactions.

SINGH was paid at least $22,300 for her participation as a straw purchaser in two of the transactions. AHMAD surreptitiously provided the purchaser’s down payment in some of the transactions, and in each case loan applications were filed with Long Beach Mortgage which included false information about the purchaser. Some applications contained false information about the purchasers’ employment and monthly income, and in some cases the loan applications included false identifying information and counterfeit documents.

The indictment further alleges that AHMAD engaged in transactions involving more than $10,000 in fraud proceeds, and engaged in money laundering by conducting financial transactions intended to promote the mortgage fraud scheme.

“Mortgage fraud harms not just lenders, it harms the larger housing market and poses risks for our regional and national economy,” said United States Attorney McGregor Scott.

“Federal law enforcement agencies, working in cooperation with our state and local law enforcement partners, will continue vigorously to investigate and prosecute those involved in these activities.”

The maximum penalty for mail fraud is 30 years in prison, if the fraud affects a financial institution, and a fine of up to $250,000. The maximum penalty for engaging in monetary transactions involving more than $10,000 in crime proceeds is ten years in prison and a fine of $250,000, and the maximum penalty for money laundering is 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. However, the actual sentence will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables, and any applicable statutory sentencing factors.

The charges are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Resources:
Indictment
Press Release

4:51PM

Former Title company owner indicted in yet another Ohio prosecution.

ohio%20logo.bmp In a press release from Columbus, OH, Attorney General Marc Dann and Licking County Prosecutor Robert Becker today announced the indictment of Donna Lemmon Perkins for mortgage related crimes.

The Licking County Grand Jury indicted Lemmon Perkins on multiple counts of theft, money laundering, and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. This indictment is part of a continuing crackdown on mortgage fraud by General Dann’s Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission in cooperation with county prosecutors’ offices and local, state, and federal law enforcement authorities.

This case was investigated by the Central Ohio Mortgage Fraud Task Force, which is led by the Columbus Division of Police; Economic Crime Unit. The task force worked with the Heath Police Department, Granville Police Department, and Licking County Prosecutor’s Office on this case. Other task force members include detectives from the Upper Arlington Police Department, investigators from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office, the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office, the Ohio Department of Commerce, the Ohio Department of Insurance, and agents from OIG for Housing and Urban Development, US Postal, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Lemmon Perkins, (pictured below) 43, of Granville was the owner of the now-defunct Lemmon & Associates Title which went out of business in February 2006. She surrendered her license to the Ohio Department of Insurance in December 2006. She has not conducted title agency business since then.

Upon closing the business, it was discovered that money was missing from the title agency’s escrow account, a result of the alleged theft by Lemmon Perkins. Six victims reported that they received “bad checks” from Lemmon Title after loan closings.

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The victims’ loss is estimated at just under $400,000. Two victims were senior citizens. Charges for crimes against children for the elderly carry a stiffer penalty under Ohio law.

A Google search reveals a Donna Lemmon Perkins has a connection to Keller Willaims Realty in Columbus, Ms. Lemmon Perkins is pictured on that website 

3:50PM

Two plead guilty in Maryland mortgage fraud scheme

In a press release it was announced by the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland, Rod J. Rosenstein that attorney Rachel Donegan and David Lincoln, both age 37, of Baltimore, have pleaded guilty to wire fraud arising from a mortgage fraud scheme. Donegan pleaded guilty today and Lincoln on August 10, 2007.

Donegan and Lincoln worked at 1st Metropolitan Mortgage and Guilford Title and Escrow, located in Baltimore, preparing mortgage applications and assisting in mortgage closings. According to their plea agreements, from January 2005 to December 2006, Donegan and Lincoln participated with Yolanda Crawley and Shawn Michael Green in a scheme to wire mortgage applications to mortgage companies which contained false representations about Crawley and Green’s income and employment. The fraud scheme allowed Crawley to secure loans for properties in: Wellington, Florida valued at over $1 million; West Palm Beach, Florida valued at $500,000; and Columbia, Maryland valued at $316,000. The fraud scheme also allowed Green to secure loans for property at 2339 Eutaw Place in Baltimore valued at $300,000.

Donegan and Lincoln face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. No sentencing date has been set for the defendants.

In a related indictment, Green, age 41, of Columbia, Maryland, and Crawley, of West Palm Beach Florida, are charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine from 1998 to 2007 and conspiracy to commit money laundering from 2004 to 2007. The indictment seeks forfeiture of $4 million, which is based on a minimum of 200 kilograms of cocaine at $20,000 per kilogram, and includes the properties in Baltimore and Florida involved in the fraud scheme. An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Drug Money Laundering Initiative and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Kwame J. Manley, who is prosecuting the case.

Resources:
Press Release

2:42PM

Former Salvation Army employee sentenced in fraud cases

In a press release from Anchorage, Alaska United States Attorney Nelson P. Cohen announced on August 23, 2007, that Tequisha M. Johnson, a resident of Anchorage, Alaska, was sentenced in federal court in Anchorage to 37 months in prison for her conviction on one count of forgery, one count of computer fraud and one count of bank fraud. Additionally, Johnson is ordered to pay $160,846.68 in restitution and serve five years of supervised release upon her release from prison.

United States District Court Judge Ralph R. Beistline imposed the sentence on Johnson, age 31.

According to information presented to the court by Assistant United States Attorney Tom Bradley, Johnson admitted committing forgery to steal from the Salvation Army; using computer fraud to steal from Easter Seals; and committing bank fraud by lying to Wells Fargo Bank in an attempt to obtain a home mortgage. She was an employee of the Salvation Army and Easter Seals when she stole from them.

In imposing sentence, Judge Beistline noted that the sentence included an additional ten months because Johnson committed these crimes while released on bail.

Mr. Cohen commended the Anchorage Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service–Criminal Investigations for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Johnson.

Resources:
Press Release

1:50PM

Recent case updates

The following cases were updated today, click the headlne for the full entry.

Ringleader in Georgia mortgage fraud sentenced to 9 years & 7 months imprisonment

11:53AM

Two indicted in another Ohio mortgage fraud case

In the following press release Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann and Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien today announced the indictment of LARRY CORNA and ALAN CSIPKE by the Franklin County Grand Jury.

Both were indicted for their roles in falsifying loan documents associated with the sale and mortgages of three Franklin county properties and one Ottawa county property.These indictments are part of a continuing crackdown on mortgage fraud by Attorney General Marc Dann’s Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission in cooperation with county prosecutor’s offices and local, state, and federal law enforcement authorities.

“These cooperative efforts by law enforcement agencies are imperative to our fight against mortgage fraud,” said General Dann. “I’m proud of their efforts and encourage other law enforcement agencies to join forces to combat these crimes and help rid Ohio of mortgage fraud.”

Larry Corna, (pictured below left) age 52, of Columbus has been associated with a number of companies in the Columbus and Upper Arlington area, including Merchants Financial, Mortgage Services Inc., and Unique Construction.

Alan Csipke, (pictured below righ) age 29, of Columbus obtained loans for the properties. Both Corna and Csipke are reported to have conspired to obtain inflated mortgages on the properties in order to obtain monies from the loan proceeds under false pretenses. Investigators identified forged appraisals and other loan documents which allowed Csipke to purchase the properties.

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Charges include multiple counts of theft, money laundering, and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

The Upper Arlington Police Department spearheaded the investigations of these cases a part of the Central Ohio Mortgage Fraud Task Force. The task force is led by the Columbus Division of Police, Economic Crime Unit. Other task force members include detectives from the Upper Arlington Police Department, Investigators from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office, the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office, the Ohio Department of Commerce, the Ohio Department of Insurance, and agents from OIG for Housing and Urban Development, US Postal, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

NOTE: Mortgage fraud may be defined as any crime committed in the context of a mortgage transaction. Mortgage fraud is considered one of the contributing factors to the high foreclosure rate in the state of Ohio.

9:45AM

Ohio Mortgage Fraud Task Force brings charges against 2 people

In a press release Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann announced a nine count indictment of two individuals from Illinois charged with defrauding local financial institutions. Albert Pliner, 35, and Janna Pliner, 45, of Cook County, Illinois are charged with Securing Writings by Deception, Money Laundering, and Theft for their role in a mortgage fraud scheme. Arrest warrants were issued in connection with this indictment for both defendants.

The Pliners purchased a Canal Winchester home in February 2005 and executed the scheme in May of 2005. The Pliners used the equity in their $290,000.00 residence to secure mortgages and home equity loans from 5 separate financial institutions on the same day. At the closing on each loan, the Pliners certified on four of the loans that there were no other liens or encumbrances on the property.

As the result of this scheme, the Pliners obtained loans and equity credit line advances from the financial institutions in amounts ranging from $100,000.00 to $280,000.00.  The total intended loss in fraudulent mortgages as the result of this scheme is close to a million dollars.

“The scams carried out by this couple undermines everything the American Dream is supposed to encompass when buying a home. These con-artists came in to one of our communities to wreak havoc on our neighborhoods and rob our local lending institutions,” said Attorney General Marc Dann. “With the cooperation of local authorities and the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office, I will continue to protect Ohioans from this kind of illegal activity, and I will continue to crack down on mortgage fraud criminals.”

This case is part of an ongoing effort by the Central Ohio Mortgage Fraud Task Force, which is led by the Columbus Division of Police Economic Crime Unit. This task force was commissioned by Attorney General Marc Dann’s Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission in 2006 to combat mortgage fraud in the central Ohio area. Task Force agency members include:

            • The Columbus Division of Police, Economic Crime Unit

            • Investigators from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office

            • Upper Arlington Police Department

            • Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office

            • Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office

            • Ohio Department of Commerce

            • Ohio Department of Insurance

            • The Office of Inspector General for Housing and Urban Development

            • US Secret Service

            • Immigration and Customs Enforcement

An indictment is a charging instrument, as any person who is indicted is presumed innocent until proven guilty.