Former Title and Escrow Agent Indicted for Mortgage Fraud

Allison Tussey —  May 18, 2011 — Leave a comment

Ronald Johannes Sneijder, 48, Herndon, Virginia, a former owner of a title and escrow company based in the District of Columbia, has been indicted on federal charges relating to mortgage fraud. The total amount of loans was approximately $1,829,000. The indictment, recently unsealed, was returned May 13, 2011 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Sneijder was indicted on charges of bank fraud, wire fraud, first degree fraud, and theft. The indictment also includes a forfeiture count seeking all proceeds from the defendant’s crimes. If convicted, under the federal sentencing guidelines, he faces a potential sentence of between 46 and 57 months of incarceration.

According to the indictment, Sneijder was the manager and majority owner of a title and escrow company known as Red Box Settlements, located in the 1600 block of U Street NW, Washington, D.C.

On about January 13, 2004, Sneijder purchased a residence at 1325 Independence Avenue SE. About a month later, he refinanced the loan through Wells Fargo Bank, obtaining a home equity line of credit with a maximum credit limit of up to $575,000.

In February 2005, the defendant sought a $581,000 refinance loan from First Savings Mortgage Corporation, using as collateral his house at 1325 Independence Avenue SE, which was already encumbered with the home equity line of credit from Wells Fargo. First Savings Mortgage Corporation approved the loan on the condition that the Wells Fargo line of credit would be paid off and closed and the lien in the public record be “released” so that no additional money could be borrowed on the Wells Fargo line of credit, and so that there would be no other loans that would take precedence over the First Savings Mortgage Corporation loan.

After settlement, Sneijder paid off the Wells Fargo line of credit but did not close it. Thereafter, from March 2005 to November 2006, he again borrowed money against the Wells Fargo line of credit. He obtained cash advances up to approximately $558,000 by the end of November 2006.

The indictment further alleges that in November 2006, Sneijder sought a $675,000 loan from Wachovia Bank using as collateral 1325 Independence Avenue SE, which was already encumbered with the Wells Fargo home equity line of credit and the First Savings Mortgage Corporation loan. Wachovia approved the loan on the condition that the Wells Fargo line of credit would be paid, closed, and the Recorder of Deeds be notified of the closure so that no additional money could be borrowed on the Wells Fargo line of credit. The defendant paid down less than half of the line of credit, and again failed to close the Wells Fargo account. From January to August 2007, Sneijder again continued to borrow money against the Wells Fargo line of credit for a total amount due and owing of approximately $573,000.

According to the indictment, Sneijder failed to repay the approximate $573,000 Wells Fargo line of credit, the $581,000 First Savings Mortgage Corporation loan, and the $675,000 Wachovia loan, resulting in foreclosure of 1325 Independence Avenue SE, the proceeds of which were insufficient in value to repay the approximate $1,829,000 loaned to the defendant.

The indictment further alleges that the defendant took about $216,000 from client escrowed money from May to November 2006.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and is not evidence of guilt. Every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.

It was announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. and James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

In announcing the indictment, U.S. Attorney Machen and Assistant Director in Charge McJunkin commended the work of those who investigated the matter for the FBI’s Washington Field Office, including special agents and forensic accountants. They also cited the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Diane Hayes and Sarah Reis, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Friedman. Finally they acknowledged the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Virginia Cheatham, who is prosecuting the case along with the office’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section.

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Allison Tussey

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