8:10AM

Centerville Woman Convicted Of Money Laundering

United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan; Joseph A. Galasso, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation; and Colonel Thomas G. Robbins, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, announced that LYNN ALBERICO, age 43, of 68 Old Farm Road, Centerville, Massachusetts, was convicted by a jury sitting before U.S. District Judge Patti B. Saris of conspiracy to commit money laundering, making and subscribing to a false tax return, and failure to file a tax return.

Evidence presented during the nine-day trial proved that on July 9, 1997, Stephen Queen, formerly of Hyannis, illegally obtained over $900,000 in cash from his parents’ safe deposit boxes in Florida. Mr. Queen returned to Hyannis, on July 12, 1997 with the cash. The evidence proved that ALBERICO, along with her now ex-boyfriend, George Upton, stole the money from Mr. Queen and subsequently laundered a portion of it through the purchase of real estate at 89 Iyanough Road in Hyannis. The evidence also proved that on August 29, 1997, ALBERICO and Upton purchased a commercial property at 89 Iyanough Road in Hyannis with the stolen money. The property was purchased with 13 separate cashier’s checks that were acquired by ALBERICO, Upton, and four other individuals recruited by Upton. The cashier’s checks were purchased through a series of convoluted currency transactions, involving structured deposits in amounts below $10,000, deposits into individual and business bank accounts, and cash purchases. In addition, the evidence proved that ALBERICO and Upton put a phony mortgage on the property in order to conceal the purchase of the property with cash.

The evidence also showed that of the $900,000 stolen, ALBERICO received approximately $100,000 of it. She did not report this additional income on her 1997 federal tax return, but instead reported an adjusted gross income of $17,341 from her business, Alberico’s Alteration and Tailoring. In 1999, when ALBERICO and Upton sold 89 Iyanough Road, ALBERICO received approximately $39,000 of the profit. The evidence showed that despite this profit, ALBERICO did not file an income tax return at all in 1999.

Judge Saris scheduled sentencing for November 14, 2005. ALBERICO faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and a fine of at least $250,000.

George Upton, age 51, of 88 Yarmouth Road, Hyannis, Massachusetts, was convicted of all charges following a jury trial in October, 2004, and was sentenced to 13 ½ years’ imprisonment for the charges.

The disappearance and presumed homicide of Stephen Queen remains under active investigation.
7:46AM

Real estate agent and loan processor plead guilty to loan fraud conspiracy

United Sates Attorney Eric Melgren announced today that Kansas City real estate agent Carlos Ruano Cruz and loan processor Mary Rachel Olivarez have pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud a federal home loan program.

Cruz and Olivarez entered guilty pleas July 18, 2005, during an appearance before U.S. District Judge Kathryn H. Vratil in Kansas City, Kan. In their plea, they admitted that prior to April 5, 2000, Cruz told Olivarez he had undocumented aliens with bad Social Security numbers who wanted to purchase houses but needed loans. Cruz was a real estate agent and Olivarez was the manager of American Home Loans in Shawnee, Kan.

Olivarez told Cruz to go ahead and try to obtain a Federal Home Administration loan for an illegal alien to find out whether it could be done. After the first loan went through, Cruz kept referring illegal aliens to American Home Loans. Both Cruz and Olivarez were aware that the Social Security numbers used on the loan applications were not assigned to the illegal aliens who were applying for the loans and that the aliens were falsely claiming to be permanent legal residents of the United States. Only United States citizens and permanent resident aliens are entitled to receive FHA loans.

Cruz submitted a total of 24 fraudulent FHA loans through American Home Loan and Olivarez, totaling more than $1.4 million.

The defendants face a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. Melgren commended the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U. S. Postal Inspection Service and, Office of the Inspector General Social Security Administration which investigated the case.

8:51AM

Milwaukee Alderman charged with making false statement to HUD

United States Attorney Steven M. Biskupic and Special Agent In Charge James Finch of the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced today that a federal grand jury has indicted Milwaukee Alderman Robert Donovan on one count of making a false statement to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Donovan allegedly gave information to City of Milwaukee officials which caused them to relay information to HUD officials in connection with a $200,000 block grant funded by HUD and approved for The Milwaukee Alliance, a non-profit organization stared by Donovan.

Based on this charge, Donovan faces up to one year imprisonment and a fine of $100,000. The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Inspector General’s Office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Assistant United States Attorney Karine Moreo-Taxman.

The public is cautioned that an indictment is merely the formal method of returning charges against an individual and does not constitute inference of his or her guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until such time, if ever, that the government established his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

8:22AM

Arbitration ordered in repair scam

Amongst other charges Chicago contractor John Sullivan was found guilty of taking advantage of an elderly and schizophrenic apartment-building owner. Sullivan allegedly persuaded the victim to sign up for $40,000 in home repairs, including the installation of new storm windows and a furnace and assisted the alleged victim in obtaining a $104,000 mortgage to pay for the work. The victim then signed over $54,000 as a gift to Sullivan, which was, allegedly, later given to a third party. The case was brought by the City of Chicago and heard by Cook County Circuit Judge Bernetta Bush.

Sullivan owned a company called New Look Home Services and two others A-Z Electric and J&D Home Services, Inc.

Sullivan is subject of an injunction which imposed a life time ban on his participation in any aspect of the home repair business in Chicago.

8:21AM

Former Exec Director of Fort Lupton Housing Auth indicted

DENVER – Bill Leone, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Colorado; Rebecca J. Kiser, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Inspector General for Housing and Urban Development; and Richard C. Powers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Denver Office, today announced the arrest of RENEE MARIE GONZALES, age 40, of Fort Lupton, Colorado, based on a 53-count indictment charging her with theft of federal funds. The charges stem from GONZALES’ employment as the Executive Director of the Fort Lupton Housing Authority (FLHA).

According to the indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Denver on July 11, 2005, as Executive Director of the Fort Lupton Housing Authority, GONZALES was responsible for managing property and overseeing the distribution of federal funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to subsidize housing for low income families, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

Checks written from the Fort Lupton Housing Authority checking accounts require two signatures. Certain individuals, including housing authority board members and the executive director, have the authority to sign checks. According to the indictment, it was not uncommon for board members to sign blank checks in advance of them being filed out, entrusting the defendant to use them for legitimate FLHA expenses.
From March 2003 through June 2004, GONZALES allegedly embezzled approximately $212,094.95 in HUD funds by fraudulently issuing 53 checks and depositing them into bank accounts of her husband’s trucking company. The indictment states that the defendant converted the funds for her use as well as others, depriving the FLHA from the lawful use of the funds.

This case was investigated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of the Inspector General (HUD OIG), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Fort Lupton Police Department and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert Mydans.

These charges are only allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty

7:49AM

Three indicted in ID Theft & mortgage fraud scam

Sandy Hodson reports for the Augusta Chronicle on the unsealing of a a federal indictment accusing three people of running a fraud scam involving nearly half a million dollars. The accused are Stacey, L Shefton, Michael D. Dunn, 39, and Willie J. Anderson Jr., 37, are charged with conspiracy, fraud, money laundering and identity theft. Click here to read the indictment

According to the indictment, the schemes began in late 2000, when Mr. Dunn bought 975 Mack Road, Harlem, GA for $17,600 and sold it to his girlfriend for $50,000. Mr. Dunn is accused of falsifying information on a mortgage loan application he filled out in his girlfriend’s name, the indictment continues.

According to the indictment, the mortgage fraud scheme continued in 2001, when the defendants allegedly shadowed the legitimate sale of an Alpharetta home. Allegedly by posing as the real owners, the men conned an Alpharetta appraiser, an Augusta attorney and a Macon mortgage company into unwittingly participating in the fraudulent deal.

The 19-count indictment also alleges that Mr. Shefton fraudulently convinced a builder he had a buyer ready to purchase a Statesboro home for $154,000. Mr. Shefton also is accused of obtaining a mortgage by stealing and using another person’s identity.

7:29AM

Three indicted in Tennessee land sale

Bill Poovey reports for AP in Dateline Alabama that in yet another investigation into Tennessee state officials, state Sen. Jerry Cooper of Morrison is an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal bank fraud and money laundering case. A federal indictment says an unindicted co-conspirator - identified in tax records and by an attorney in the case as Cooper - “used his political contacts, connections and influence” to sell a Warren County business property he owned.

The 14-count indictment says the unindicted co-conspirator helped a buyer obtain a $1.77 million federally guaranteed loan from Bank Tennessee based on a bogus appraisal. You can read the indictment by clicking here.

The indictment unsealed July 6 accuses McMinnville real estate appraiser James Passons of inflating the value of the lumber mill property bought in the name of Anthony’s Construction Co. Cooper sold the property to Huntsville, Ala., businessman Anthony Auyer in 1999 based on Passons appraisal. The sale was accompanied by a commitment from the Tennessee Department of Community Development that a grant would be issued to Auyer to build the rail spur, records show.

Auyer is charged with mail fraud, money laundering, wire fraud and conspiracy; Passons is charged with bank fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy. Auyer’s wife, Teresa Rikard Auyer, is charged in the indictment with bank fraud, money laundering, wire fraud and conspiracy.
The three defendants all pleaded not guilty. Trial is set for Sept. 14.

7:08AM

Pastor and CPA convicted in mortgage fraud

Yahoo Finance reports that Terrell L. Harris, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee and James M. Cavanaugh, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Nashville Field Division, announced that the federal jury returned a verdict of guilty, yesterday, as to all Counts of the Indictment in United States v. Gerald Rayborn. Rayborn, a 59-year old male, was charged with Conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering, and in addition two counts of mail fraud, and one count of money laundering. Gerald Rayborn is the pastor of the New Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church located on Horn Lake Road in Memphis, Tennessee.

Click here for the Court Case Docket Report

The Indictment described that Rayborn conspired with Larry Bullock, a Certified Public Accountant, to submit fraudulent tax returns to a mortgage company to obtain a mortgage loan. In a separate trial, on June 8, 2005, Bullock was convicted by a federal jury of the same charges except he was not charged with the one count of money laundering.

Honorable J. Daniel Breen, U.S. District Judge, presided over both trials, Rayborn and Bullock. Rayborn’s trial commenced on Monday, July 11, 2005. Rayborn will be sentenced on October 14, 2005. He faces a possible sentence of 65 years of imprisonment.

The investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant United States Attorneys, Kevin P. Whitmore and Cam Jones, were the prosecutors assigned to the case.