Brenda Ann Blair, 37, loan officer, Bonita Springs, Florida, formerly of Goochland County, Virginia, was sentenced to 27 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release for participating in a fraud scheme that obtained approximately $2.4 million worth of mortgage backed loans from federally backed financial institutions.
Blair was charged in a criminal information on December 4, 2014, and pled guilty on December 19, 2014. In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Blair admitted that she and others devised and participated in a scheme from 2006 to 2008 to fraudulently obtain $2.42 million worth of mortgage backed loans from Washington Mutual Bank, SunTrust Bank, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The mortgage loans were obtained in approximately 16 different real estate transactions, and produced actual losses in the approximate amount of $916,700. This scheme also defrauded HUD, which lost an additional $63,964, for a total loss of $980,664.
The essence of the scheme was to mislead the lender about the true creditworthiness of the borrowers and the true value of the properties securing the loan. For example, the schemers made various misrepresentations on the loan applications about such topics as the employment status, income, assets and debts of the buyers. Other times the schemers would falsify information to make it appear that the buyer had made a down payment when in fact he or she had not.
In another aspect of the scheme, some borrowers purchased more than one property in a short period of time, resulting in some mortgage loan liabilities not appearing on the borrowers’ credit reports and the mortgage loan applications. Even though Blair was the loan officer for all of the transactions, she failed to report to the lenders that the borrowers had obtained other outstanding mortgage loans which affected their debt-to-income ratios, and would have affected the lenders’ decision to approve the loans.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Cary Rubenstein, Special Agent in Charge, Mid-Atlantic Region of the Office of Inspector General of HUD; David M. McGinnis, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS); and Adam S. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, made the announcement after the sentencing by U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer.
This case was investigated by the Office of the Inspector General of HUD, USPIS, and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney David T. Maguire prosecuted the case.