Guilty Pleas in American Bantrust Mortgage Services Corporation Collapse

Allison Tussey —  December 9, 2005 — 22 Comments

Roger Mason, 59, Truro, Iowa, former President of American Bantrust Mortgage Services Corporation (ABM) and Sheila Johnson, 50, Phoenix, Arizona, former Treasurer of ABM Services Corporation, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud in an Arizona federal court.

Mason and Johnson pleaded guilty to an indictment issued on December 14, 2004 charging them with 14 counts of bank fraud and one count of conspiracy. The charges were a result of an investigation by the FBI following the collapse of ABM Services Corporation, a mortgage processing and servicing company, and subsequent receivership by the Arizona State Department of Banking. The collapse occurred when two financial institutions discovered a negative balance of $3,439,409.63 in the ABM Services Corporation as a result of the check-kiting scheme. The discovery of the negative balance resulted in a loss of $3,439,409.63 to an Arizona bank.

Mason and Johnson admitted conspiring together between December 2002 and July 2003 to fraudulently inflate the balances in ABM Services eleven bank accounts. With Mason‘s knowledge, Johnson wrote checks with insufficient funds to cover other checks with insufficient funds between the two banks in such a manner to conceal the fact the company had a negative balance. During the same time period, Mason withdrew approximately $1.3 million in salary advances from the company despite negative balances in the company accounts as high as $1.7 million.

Sentencing is scheduled on March 13, 2006. They each face a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

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22 responses to Guilty Pleas in American Bantrust Mortgage Services Corporation Collapse

  1. just wondering what happened on the sentencing scheduled on march 13, 2006 with Mr. Roger Mason and Sheila Johnson, as was a previous employee of American Bantrust Mtg Services. I could say a lot about their operation first hand knowlege but I am sure it all came out at the trial. A lot of us never got paid, I personally had quit 2 years prior to their doors being closed down and locked, they still owed me some money. I am just greatful that I no longer worked for them.

  2. Peter Collins May 15, 2006 at 4:42 pm

    This man AND his wife and Sheila Killed any hopes for future business in Prescott and as renee piequet was never paid nor was I. I bought into the very office Renee left, and we never got anything.

  3. Peter Collins May 17, 2006 at 8:18 pm

    On 5/15 I found this blog has and gave me the idea that I may have a civil case…this guy still has money. I’m calling for any other employee’s, anyone who knows anything, attorneys HELP please.
    as of 5/17/06 both roger and sheila will be sentenced on 7/27/06 room 503 9:30am in front of the Honorable James A Teilborg

  4. Renee Piequet June 7, 2006 at 3:44 pm

    Someone emailed Mortgage Fraud and wanted help with info regarding ABT/Roger Mason on 6/3 and they forwarded the email to me asking for help. But I do not know who they are or how to get in touch with them. I did work for Roger for 9 years and I am aware of things that went on in that company/roger and sheila if they want to contact me direct please do at rlpiequet@hotmail.com hoping the person that sent the email on 6/3 reads this!

  5. I have been a personal friend of Roger Mason and his family for over 20 years, and was shocked by this indictment and conviction.

    What was the outcome of his sentencing? I cannot find any further information online.

    Is there any way I can contact him?

  6. Chris Hayhurst July 4, 2006 at 11:31 am

    I worked for American Bantrust for 18 months as a loan officer in the Phoenix office. While I didn’t expect Roger or Sheila to have done something like this, it doesn’t surprise me, either. Roger had some good people working for him. It’s a shame he screwed them over. I hope Roger and Sheila have to do the maximum sentence.

  7. Another question comes to mind … Sandy Elgin was Roger’s “right hand woman”, and I rewired her house in Cave Creek when they bought and moved there.

    I noticed that her property appears to have seized or taken too. Perhaps I am mistaken, did she get indicted too?

  8. Chris Hayhurst July 10, 2006 at 3:38 pm

    It wouldn’t surprise me. She was party to every decision Roger made, so I’m sure she was implicated.

    Whatever happened to Jim Sawitzki (sp?)? If he was still around, I assume he would’ve been busted, too. He was an advisor to Roger, too; a Sandy-Lite, if you will.

    What a bunch of scumbags…

  9. In another case file listing James E Sawitzke can be found at the following link: http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/docket/civil/caseInfo.asp?caseNumber=CV2003-014465

  10. James E. Sawitzke is also listed as a defendant on the same case number as Sandy Elgin.

    http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/docket/civil/caseInfo.asp?caseNumber=CV2003-014465

  11. Did Roger and Sheila get sentenced today, and if so, what was the outcome?

  12. Does anybody know the outcome of the sentencing?

  13. He got 37 months; Sheila is yet to be sentenced, as of 7-28.

    Here’s the news article:

    http://www.azcentral.com/business/articles/0729biz-bankfraud0729.html

  14. I don’t seem to be able to find Roger listed in the Arizona Department of Corrections as an inmate. Is he serving his sentence?

  15. Roger is doing his time in Duluth Minnesota (and not enough time if you ask me)…see http://www.bop.gov (bop = bureau of prisons) type in Roger Duane Mason. Roger, his wife Sherry and their 2 worthless children should all be doing prison time. Roger not only ripped off his company for his own gain, he also stole from his employees by asking some of us to loan him money and then never paid us back. (Iam talking of thousands of dollars). As an ex employee of ABT, I hope the man rots in you know where and his family suffers along with him!

  16. No, I was NOT charged with any involvement in this case. My name and Jim’s were included on the original court documents since we were authorized signers on the checking account. I did lose my house in Cave Creek because of all the money Roger stole from me. It was not seized by the courts or as any part of the charges against ABT. My mortgage was serviced by ABT and he stole my mortgage payments, did not pay me income I had earned and cost me thousands of dollars in attorney fees. Neither Roger or Sheila will ever serve enough time to compensate for the damage they did to so many people.

  17. I would be interested in a class action suit against this piece of shit! I would like to invite Roger and Sheila to my house for a little chat. I have a baseball bat to talk to their heads with! I hope they both suffer and die a slow painful death!!!

  18. 4. SHEILA GAYE JOHNSON 83662-008 53 White F 12-11-2008 PHOENIX FCI

    the 12-11-2008 is the release date

    see http://www.bop.gov (bop = bureau of prisons)type in Sheila Gaye Johnson

    this is the only info I can find on Sheila…have search some but can not find any info on her sentancing. If I do locate any info…I will post.

  19. i didn’t realize what was happening. i’m glad i quit when i did. but i remember times that roger let the employees help other employees by giving their vacation time to them because they were sick. i always felt that they tried to keep the employees employed. and they are now paying for it. i didn’t think it was self satisfying why they did what they did.

  20. It was by some strange curiosity that I found this article. I was simply wondering what was ever said publicly about ABT. It was tough reading this article, especially scrolling through the comments. I realized that several of you worked at ABT, well if you worked there from 1989 and after, then you know who I am. I may have been too young to remember all of you but I bet I would recognize most faces. You see I was raised at ABT, I even had my own office (crib room). My mother is Sheila Johnson. While reading all the comments my whole body became numb. Realizing what all of you thought of my mother broke my heart. I feel as though I now need to say something to all of you. My mother made a terrible mistake; there is absolutely no denying that. When my mother sat me down and told me everything that was going on, I was attending my senior year in high school. Her sentencing to prison was pushed back because she was an only mother who wanted to see her daughter graduate. She went to prison soon thereafter. Weather you believe me or not my mother worked very hard to keep ABT a float, hoping that one day the money would come back around and ABT could come out of the hole. I think that deep down inside she knew it wouldn’t but for the sake of pushing it off as long as possible she made very bad decisions. I would like you to know that my mother never received an ounce of money more than her pay check. I read that many of you went without, and on behalf of my mother I am very sorry that it happened. My mother raised me by herself and I think if I had not been around my mother would have never made these decisions. Having a child changes things, and if any of you have children you know that you would do damn near anything for them to have a good and happy life. As for Roger Mason, he is perhaps a different story. I do not hate this man by any means, I feel very sorry for him. I read over all of the evidence that was presented in court, most of it being emails from Roger to my mother. From what I read and from what I know, he was a very manipulating person. I’m sure you all remember his lavish monthly trips and taste for the finer things. Yet, somehow in these emails, he made my mother feel guilty when he couldn’t make his bills. This isn’t surprising to me because my mother was a very kind person, always putting others before herself. She did not rot in jail as most of you would have liked. But she never did recover from her own embarrassment and disappointment. The years after prison she was a very sad person who kept herself secluded from the world. She worked part time for about a year before she was admitted to the ICU after falling in her home. They reported several seizures, heart failure, lung failure, and kidney failure. Two weeks later she passed away. To Steve, the man in the above comments, I am sorry but she did not “suffer a slow painful death”, it was very peaceful and very much without pain. Also for anyone wondering, no, she did not have any money. The only thing left was an extensive amount of debt from the years of not working. This is not me trying to tell you the sob story of my mother; this is me trying to show you that things may have been seen differently in the eyes of someone else. That love and compassion can sometimes lead you to make very bad decisions. My mother is and always will be my hero, sacrificing everything for me, teaching me to be a strong independent women, and to learn from my mistakes. I pray that you will all have the compassion in your hearts to forgive her.

  21. It was by some strange curiosity that I found this article. I was simply wondering what was ever said publicly about ABT. It was tough reading this article, especially scrolling through the comments. I realized that several of you worked at ABT, well if you worked there from 1989 and after, then you know who I am. I may have been too young to remember all of you but I bet I would recognize most faces. You see I was raised at ABT, I even had my own office (crib room). My mother is Sheila Johnson. While reading all the comments my whole body became numb. Realizing what all of you thought of my mother broke my heart. I feel as though I now need to say something to all of you. My mother made a terrible mistake; there is absolutely no denying that. When my mother sat me down and told me everything that was going on, I was attending my senior year in high school. Her sentencing to prison was pushed back because she was an only mother who wanted to see her daughter graduate. She went to prison soon thereafter. Weather you believe me or not my mother worked very hard to keep ABT a float, hoping that one day the money would come back around and ABT could come out of the hole. I think that deep down inside she knew it wouldn’t but for the sake of pushing it off as long as possible she made very bad decisions. I would like you to know that my mother never received an ounce of money more than her pay check. I read that many of you went without, and on behalf of my mother I am very sorry that it happened. My mother raised me by herself and I think if I had not been around my mother would have never made these decisions. Having a child changes things, and if any of you have children you know that you would do damn near anything for them to have a good and happy life. As for Roger Mason, he is perhaps a different story. I do not hate this man by any means, I feel very sorry for him. I read over all of the evidence that was presented in court, most of it being emails from Roger to my mother. From what I read and from what I know, he was a very manipulating person. I’m sure you all remember his lavish monthly trips and taste for the finer things. Yet, somehow in these emails, he made my mother feel guilty when he couldn’t make his bills. This isn’t surprising to me because my mother was a very kind person, always putting others before herself. She did not rot in jail as most of you would have liked. But she never did recover from her own embarrassment and disappointment. The years after prison she was a very sad person who kept herself secluded from the world. She worked part time for about a year before she was admitted to the ICU after falling in her home. They reported several seizures, heart failure, lung failure, and kidney failure. Two weeks later she passed away. To Steve, the man in the above comments, I am sorry but she did not “suffer a slow painful death”, it was very peaceful and very much without pain. Also for anyone wondering, no, she did not have any money. The only thing left was an extensive amount of debt from the years of not working. This is not me trying to tell you the sob story of my mother; this is me trying to show you that things may have been seen differently in the eyes of someone else. That love and compassion can sometimes lead you to make very bad decisions. My mother is and always will be my hero, sacrificing everything for me, teaching me to be a strong independent women, and to learn from my mistakes. I pray that you will all have the compassion in your hearts to forgive her.

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