Indictment Returned in Mortgage Fraud Scheme

admin —  August 21, 2009 — 2 Comments

Michael Lusk, Mykisha Williams, Gloria Buntyn, Keith Threatt and Melanie Wilkes were indicted on charges of conspiracy, mail, wire, and bank fraud arising from their involvement in a”flipping scheme”. 

According to the indictment, between approximately February 2003, and March 2008, Lusk who owned and operated several companies, recruited defendant Williams (his wife), and defendants Buntyn, Threatt and others (“the Sellers”) to purchase residential properties in Shelby County, Tennessee. The Sellers would then “flip” the properties to “Straw Buyers” including defendant Wilkes for substantially more than the Sellers had originally paid. Lusk arranged for mortgage loan financing in the names of the Straw Buyers to finance the purchases of the properties from the Sellers. In order to qualify the Straw Buyers for the loans, Lusk and others would submit false, fraudulent and fictitious loan underwriting and closing documents.

The indictment also alleges that Rex McCasland, an appraiser who has previously entered a guilty plea to a criminal information charging him in the conspiracy, prepared appraisals containing false statements regarding the value and condition of some of the properties. The indictment also alleges that in addition to acting as a Straw Buyer, defendant Wilkes, who was commissioned as a Notary Public, notarized signatures of other Straw Buyers on closing documents when the Buyers were not present at the closing. Lusk was also charged with two counts of money laundering. The indictment seeks forfeiture of $12 million, two residential properties purchased by Lusk, several vehicles, and two Rolex watches.

The properties referenced in the indictment include:

744 Melrose, Memphis;

61 W McKellar, Memphis;

1417 N Bellevue, Memphis;

128 W Davant, Memphis;

1486 Stevenson, Memphis;

1235 Chickamauga, Memphis;

1119 Kney, Memphis;

250 W. Brooks Rd, Memphis;

144 W Person, Memphis;

1164 Canary Ln, Memphis; and

3676 Skylark, Memphis.

Lawrence J. Laurenzi, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, announced the indictment.

This case was part of a joint investigation by the United States Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Postal Inspection Service. The matter is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carroll André.

Charges brought against a person through an indictment are accusations only. That person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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2 responses to Indictment Returned in Mortgage Fraud Scheme

  1. Saying that an indictment was ‘returned’ means that a prosecutor presented evidence to the grand jury and the grand jury decided that there was enough evidence to support an indictment. It actually means that the people were charged and are being prosecuted for their crimes.

  2. What does it mean when an indictment has been returned? Do the theieves just get off scott free?

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