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.


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.


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.


Con artists charged with stealing two homes

In a June 23, 2005 press release the Miami-Dade Office of Inspector General announced the arrest of Sameer Muhammad and the issuing of an arrest warrant Carolyn Murphy the alleged accomplice of Muhammad.

The arrest is in relation to allegations that the two used stolen ID’s and forged signatures on deeds filed with the County and then sold two homes to innocent buyers and pocketing the proceeds. In addition the signatures of notary’s were forged to facilitate the filing.

One of the homes was still in the names of a deceased couple whose daughter was maintaining the property and the other was owned by a lady suffering from dementia who was living in a nursing home.


Colorado Lenders Association Applauds Conviction

Thomas Skinner and Janel Marie Skinner, former loan originators who operated Mile-Hi Lending LLC in Parker, and James Ezzard Gadson, a bank employee, were sentenced on June 27 for mail fraud and bank fraud, according to a July 11 press release from the Colorado Mortgage Lenders Association .

U.S. District Judge Walker Miller sentenced Thomas Skinner to 15 months in federal prison and ordered restitution of $48,591 to Fairbanks Capital Corp. and $777,191 to U.S. Bank .

Miller sentenced Janel Marie Skinner (a.k.a. Janel Dufour) to 12 months and a day in federal prison. He sentenced Gadson to three years probation and a special assessment of $25. The Skinners were initially charged by a grand jury on Aug. 19, 2003, for allegedly altering income statements and property appraisals and for bribing bank employee Gadson.

“This conviction is welcome news for consumers and responsible, law-abiding mortgage bankers and mortgage brokers in our state,” said Wil Armstrong, Chairman of the CMLA.“We have State and Federal laws specific to our industry that prohibit fraud and other ciminal acts. As an association, we have met with and encouraged Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey and Colorado Attorney General John Suthers to aggressively pursue and prosecute criminal activity relating to our industry. We applaud this conviction as evidence that aggressive enforcement works.”


Convicted mortgage broker indicted again for ID Theft

Devona Wells of The Press Enterprise reports that Hubert Jene Turner has pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges he stole the identity of a man and woman and used the information to buy houses.

Click here for the current court case report
Click here for the previous court case report

Prosecutors say that Hubert Jene Turner, also known as Kevin Turner, applied for 15 loans to purchase homes in Corona, Anaheim, Lancaster and Palmdale starting in November. Turner is accused of using the name and Social Security number of a Riverside man to complete loan documents and the Social Security number of a Yorba Linda woman to open a bank account for his proceeds.

Turner, 36, completed the purchase of four homes in Corona before police arrested him in January, said Riverside County deputy district attorney Michael Silverman. Altogether, the houses sold for more than $2.5 million, according to court records. Silverman said $122,918 in Turner’s personal accounts and various escrow accounts have been seized, with the homes he bought now either in foreclosure or about to be.

Turner, who worked as a mortgage broker in Santa Ana, was released from prison in September after serving half of a four-year term after pleading guilty to a similar crime, Silverman said.

Turner now faces 29 charges, including grand theft and identity theft. Turner’s attorney, Randall Billington, could not be reached late Tuesday.

To read the full article please click on the reference link


U.S Treasury designates MIRA as terrorist supporter

The U.S Department of the Treasury today designated the Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia (MIRA), a U.K.-based Saudi oppositionist organization, for providing material support to al Qaida. MIRA is run by al Qaida-affiliated Saad al-Faqih, who was designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 by the Treasury on December 21, 2004 and is named on the United Nations 1267 Committee consolidated list of terrorists tied to al Qaida, UBL and the Taliban.

“Al-Faqih uses MIRA to facilitate al Qaida’s operations,” said Stuart Levey, the Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI). “Designating MIRA will help stem the flow of funds to the organization and put the world on notice of its support for al Qaida.”


Lawyer accused in investment fraud

The son of prominent Charlotte civil rights lawyer James Ferguson II is charged in connection with a $2 million investment scheme. James “Jay” Ferguson III, also a lawyer, faces charges of mail fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and making false statements to the FBI, according to an indictment unsealed Monday.

Ferguson promoted a fraudulent investment business run by clients who used investor money for their own purposes, the indictment says. It describes acts of lavish living, drug sales and counterfeiting by others in the case — not Ferguson.

According to the indictment Ferguson conspired with clients, also charged in the case, to promote a fraudulent business called Alexis Enterprises, being run by those clients. From 2000 to 2002, Alexis recruited investors and promised to buy undervalued real estate. But the company never purchased any property.

Instead, Alexis chief Maurice Bethea used investor funds to “finance his extravagant lifestyle, paying for illicit acts, exotic dancers, tailor-made suits, expensive dinners, vacations, cigars and lavish parties,” the indictment says.

Jay Ferguson provided legal services for Alexis.