3 Defendants Plead Guilty to Large-Scale Mortgage Scam

Allison Tussey —  January 11, 2012 — Leave a comment

R. Craig Adams, 43, Sarasota, Florida,a real estate agent, Bonnie J. Katz, 58, Sarasota, who was as a settlement or escrow officer employed by co-defendant Lisa R. Rotolo at Diamond Title of Sarasota, Inc., and Derek W. Luther, 40, Sarasota, who bought and sold residential real property in the Sarasota area through co-defendants R. Craig Adams and Richard J. Bobka, have pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme.

As previously reported by Mortgage Fraud Blog, the defendants’ conspiratorial activities spanned over 10 years – between at least October 1997 and March 2008. The indictment alleges the defendants’ use of, among other means, false statements and fraudulent representations on financing documents to obtain loans from nearly a dozen federally insured banks and private mortgage lenders doing business in the Sarasota, FL area. The false and fraudulent statements made by the defendants included, but were not limited to, the true seller and purchaser/borrower in the transaction; the property’s actual purchase/sale price; the purchaser/borrower’s intended use of the property; the purchaser/borrower’s income, assets and liabilities; and the amount and source of the equity contributed to the purchase of the property by the purchaser/borrower.

As a result of the defendants’ fraudulent conduct, most of the residential properties referenced in the indictment have been, or are now, the subject of foreclosure proceedings.

The maximum penalties for a violation of conspiracy (18 U.S.C. – 371) include five years in federal prison and a fine of $1,000,000. The maximum penalties for a violation of making false statements to a financial institution in connection with a loan (18 U.S.C. – 1014) and wire fraud include 30 years in federal prison and a fine of $1,000,000. The indictment also notified defendants that the United States intends to forfeit all of the proceeds they obtained as a result of the mortgage and wire fraud charges in the indictment.

United States Attorney Robert E. O’Neill; Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight; Steven E. Ibison, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Tampa; and Gary Sherrill, Deputy ssistant Inspector General for Investigation, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Office of Inspector General announced the unsealing of a 44-count indictment charging 14 defendants with conspiracy to make false statements to federally insured banks in connection with mortgage loans, to commit wire fraud, and crimes related to their fraudulent acquisition of over $47 million in mortgage loans and 22 residential properties in the Sarasota, FL area.

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Allison Tussey

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