Michael Gerard Camphor, 60, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty to charges arising from the fraudulent purchase of four properties in Baltimore, Maryland, using fraudulent loan documentation and straw purchasers, resulting in losses of over $736,000.

According to Camphor’s plea agreement and other court documents, since 2002, co-conspirator Andreas E. Tamaris, 45, Bel Air, Maryland, purchased, renovated, and then resold distressed row houses in Baltimore City, primarily in the Highlandtown neighborhood.  Camphor had worked as a real estate agent for a company and also operated a real estate consulting business called Ron Gerard LLC, a/k/a Ron Gerard & Associates. Continue Reading…

John D. Harrison, Jr., 53, Greenwood, South Carolina, Henry A. Dorn, 63, Greenwood, South Carolina, Kevin Dempsey, 45, Greenwood, South Carolina, and C. Jody Hazel, 42,Greenwood, South Carolina, pled guilty in federal court in Greenville, South Carolina, to conspiracy to commit bank fraud.  United States District Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks, of Charleston accepted the pleas and will impose sentence after she has reviewed the presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that Harrison was a real estate developer who developed high end residential properties in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Dorn, Dempsey and Hazel were accountants for the accounting firm that prepared Harrison’s financial statements and tax returns. Dorn primarily serviced Harrison’s account.  Harrison obtained loans from numerous banks and individuals to fund his real estate developments. A review of Harrison’s financial statements that were provided to banks from August 31, 2000 until May 31, 2008, indicated that Harrison significantly understated his total debt—that is, the financial statements contained false information and this false information was material to the lenders and was meant to influence the actions of the lenders.  Dorn prepared these financial statements for Harrison. In essence, Dorn kept two sets of books for Harrison: one with false numbers and one with accurate numbers.

Harrison also entered into Accommodation Borrowing Agreements with Dorn, Dempsey and Hazel in which these three men served as straw purchasers for Harrison.  The agreements allow for Harrison to sell the property to Dorn, Dempsey and Hazel and continue to develop and sell the properties. The interest payments would be paid by Harrison and the loans would be paid off when Harrison sold the property. The profit or loss would belong to Harrison and Harrison would pay a fee to Dorn, Dempsey or Hazel totaling 3% of the loan amount. The agreements were not disclosed to the banks until after the loans went past due.

In addition to the undisclosed agreements, Dorn, Dempsey and Hazel all understated their debt when applying for their respective real estate loans—that is, the financial statements contained false information.  Law enforcement estimates that federally insured banks lost in excess of $10 million in scheme and artifice to defraud.

United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated the maximum penalty the Defendants can receive is a fine of $1,000,000 and/or imprisonment for 30 years, plus a special assessment of $100.

The case was announced by United States Attorney Bill Nettles and investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant United States Attorney Bill Watkins of the Greenville office handled the case.

Daniel C. Bomar, 36, Ocean Springs, Mississippi, James B. Wright, 55, Ocean Springs, Mississippi, and Brett T. Immel, 35, Chicago,  Illinois, were indicted by a federal grand jury on April 14, 2016, and charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering in the Eastern District of Texas.

According to the indictment, from 2010 to 2012, the defendants are alleged to have conspired to defraud and obtain money from Prime Lending, a mortgage lending company in Dallas, and from Federal Savings Bank, a mortgage lending company in Overland Park, Kansas.  Both companies are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).   Continue Reading…

Dionysius Fiumano, also known as “D,” 43, Irvine, California, was found guilty in Manhattan federal court of orchestrating a massive mortgage modification scheme through which he and his co-conspirators defrauded more than 30,000 American homeowners out of a total of approximately $31 million.  Fiumano was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud, each of which carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

According to the Indictment other filings in Manhattan federal court and the evidence presented at trial:

Fiumano was the general manager of sales at Vortex Financial Management, Inc., a/k/a Professional Marketing Group, a/k/a Professional Legal Network (“PMG”), an Irvine, California, company that offered purported “mortgage modification” services, that is, assistance persuading the homeowner’s lender to agree to a modification to the terms of the homeowner’s mortgage to make it more affordable.  In that capacity, Fiumano oversaw PMG’s sales staff of approximately 65 telemarketers and managers. Continue Reading…

Avalon, Betts-Gaston, 47, Naperville, Illinois, a disbarred Illinois lawyer, was sentenced to more than four years in federal prison for her role in a mortgage fraud scheme that bilked lenders and vulnerable homeowners out of more than $725,000.  Betts-Gaston contrived fraudulent real estate transactions to defraud homeowners and financial institutions.  She and a co-defendant, Dimona Ross, arranged for the submission of materially false information on mortgage loan documents in four Cook County, Illinois, real estate transactions worth more than $725,000.

A federal jury last year convicted Betts-Gaston on two counts of wire fraud.  In addition to the 57-month prison term, U.S. District Judge Charles R. Norgle  ordered Betts-Gaston to pay restitution in the amount of $239,550.48. Continue Reading…

Gary Hughes, 36, San Diego, California, pled guilty to one count of mortgage fraud conspiracy involving bank fraud. He faces a maximum penalty of 30 years’ imprisonment.

According to the plea agreement and court proceedings, in 2005, entities controlled by co-conspirators entered into a contract to purchase The Arbors, an apartment complex in Hillsborough County, Florida. The new owners of The Arbors then engaged in a plan to convert the complex from rental to condominium units. Continue Reading…

Sergio Roman Barrientos, 62, Poway, California, was indicted by a federal grand jury in a six-count superseding indictment that charged both Barrientos and Zalathiel Aguila, 42, Fairfield, California.

According to the indictment, Barrientos, Aguila, and Omar Anabo, 53, Vallejo, California, engaged in a foreclosure rescue fraud scheme that began in September 2004 and continued to February 2008. Barrientos and Aguila are charged with conspiracy to commit and the commission of wire fraud affecting a financial institution, bank fraud, and conspiracy to make and making false statements on loan applications. On January 15, 2016, Anobo pleaded guilty to conspiring to make false statements on loan applications (case number 2:16-cr-001 GEB). He is scheduled for sentencing on November 4, 2016. Continue Reading…

Ian Resnick, 41, Abescon, New Jersey was sentenced to 18 years in prison for his role in a $3 million conspiracy to scam customers by offering phony consulting services to owners of timeshares through the New Jersey-based Vacation Ownership Group LLC.  Resnick was previously convicted in September 2013 of one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, three counts of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud. He was convicted following a seven-week trial before U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman, who imposed the sentence in Camden, New Jersey, federal court.

According to documents filed in the case and the evidence presented at trial: Continue Reading…

Garry Christopher Forsythe, 42, Hendersonville, Tennessee, was sentenced to 33 months in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $2,249,294.80 in restitution and to forfeit the proceeds of his crime.

Forysthe pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in December 2015 in connection with a scheme involving escrow funds held by his real estate closing company, Forsythe Title and Escrow. During the sentencing hearing, evidence established that the company’s escrow accounts developed shortages of more than $2.2 million because Forsythe made inflated or unsupported transfers of funds from the escrow accounts to the company’s operating accounts. Testimony during the hearing also established that, contrary to Forsythe’s position, the escrow shortages were not inadvertently caused by the failure to deposit checks or by bank errors. The evidence demonstrated that, in one instance, funds were transferred from an escrow account at Forsythe Title & Escrow and used for the down payment on a boat purchased by Forsythe.  Evidence also demonstrated that the escrow shortages resulted in bounced checks, delays in scheduled real estate closings, and instances in which borrowers were left with two mortgages because Forsythe Title & Escrow failed to pay financial institutions with funds that had been provided for that purpose.

U.S. District Court Judge Aleta A. Trauger imposed the sentence and it was announced by David Rivera, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.  The case was investigated by the FBI and the IRS-Criminal Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys William F. Abely and Cecil W. VanDevender.

Gary Blankenship, 45, St. Petersburg, Florida, was sentenced to eight months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud. He pleaded guilty on February 4, 2016.

According to his plea agreement, in 2005, entities controlled by co-conspirators entered into a contract to purchase The Arbors, an apartment complex in Hillsborough County, Florida. The new owners then engaged in a plan to convert the complex from rental apartments to condominium units.

Blankenship’s co-conspirator, Brendan Bolger, aided the developers in the sale of numerous condominium units through his company, Capital Management Guarantee, LLC. In order to induce buyers to purchase units, Bolger created an addendum to the purchase contract offering buyers various incentives, such as rental supplements, money to defray maintenance costs, and a design credit to upgrade the units’ amenities. When the buyers cancelled the design credit within 10 days of signing the addendum, Bolger paid them a kickback from his company’s bank account for the amount of the design credit. Blankenship’s role in the conspiracy as a realtor consisted of marketing The Arbors units by promising buyers undisclosed incentives. In this manner, Bolger, Blankenship and other co-conspirators failed to disclose material facts to buyers’ mortgage lenders about the financing of the condominium sales.

Blankenship was sentenced by U.S. District Judge James S. Moody. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General. It was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Chris Poor and Assistant United States Attorney Jay Hoffer.