Christopher Jared Warren, 26, Folsom, California, and Scott Edward Cavell, 27, Sacramento, California, were indicted on 44 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, passport fraud, and aggravated identity theft, related to the theft of more than $7 million from a mortgage lender and the purchase of millions of dollars of gold that Warren took to Lebanon.
The indictment alleges that Warren and Cavell used their Sacramento mortgage brokerage, Triduanum Financial Inc. to steal more than $7,000,000 during a two-month period, from December 2008 through January 2009. The indictment describes how Warren and Cavell misrepresented many facts to lender Taylor, Bean, and Whitaker Mortgage Corp. (“TB&W“) of Ocala, Florida, in order to make Triduanum qualify as a “correspondent lender” with TB&W. As a correspondent lender, Triduanum had authority to approve mortgage loans by “locking” loans and then selling them to TB&W, the “sponsor” lender. Triduanum was responsible for verifying the accuracy of the loans and for complying with money laundering laws.
The indictment describes how Warren and Cavell, using Triduanum, approved mortgages, but instead of funding the mortgages and recording the deeds, the two simply stole the money TB&W wired from banks in New York and Alabama to River City Bank accounts that Warren and Cavell controlled. Altogether, they stole more than $7,000,000 from 28 wire transfers.
In the money laundering counts, Warren and Cavell are charged with redirecting millions of dollars to gold bullion dealers, rare coin dealers, a Swedish bank account, a jewelry company, and others. The indictment also charges Warren and Cavell with stealing the identities of two men. They used the stolen identities to fraudulently obtain true passports in the names of the identity theft victims.
Warren was apprehended on the night of February 10, 2009, attempting to cross the U.S.-Canadian border carrying one of the fraudulently obtained passports and $70,000 stuffed in his cowboy boots. He is currently in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service and is being transferred to Sacramento. Cavell remains at large and is believed to have fled the country. Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts should contact the FBI.
Coinciding with this indictment, a search warrant affidavit concerning the search of Warren‘s computers and hard drives was unsealed in federal court, in case number 09-SW-0064 KJM. It provides additional allegations related to Warren‘s fraud.
“The scope and brazenness of the criminal conduct carried out by these two mortgage brokers over just two months astounds,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Brown, commenting on the indictment and the search warrant affidavit. “In coordination with multiple federal, state, and local agencies, we are doing everything we can to attack this epidemic of fraud that has contributed to the financial meltdown afflicting our region and the nation,” said Acting United States Attorney Lawrence G. Brown.
The maximum statutory penalty for each of the 28 alleged violations of wire fraud is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Money Laundering also carries a 20-year maximum. The crime of making false statements in an application for passport carries a maximum term of 10 years in prison. Aggravated identity theft carries a two-year mandatory minimum on top of any other sentence. Warren and Cavell were each charged with two counts of aggravated identity theft; if convicted, they face a potential four-year mandatory consecutive sentence in addition to any time they may receive for the wire fraud and money laundering charges. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables and any applicable statutory sentencing factors.
The charges are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Acting United States Attorney Lawrence G. Brown made the announcement. Assistant United States Attorneys Russell L. Carlberg and Matthew Stegman are prosecuting the case.
This case is the product of a joint investigation by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Diplomatic Security Service, United States Department of State; and the California Department of Real Estate.