Kristen Anne Way, 32, Houston, Texas area resident, has been convicted by a jury for conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, engaging in a monetary transaction in criminally derived property and money laundering.
Way was a loan officer at Consumer Direct Mortgage in 2005 and 2006 when she participated in the submission of fraudulent loan applications and packages to residential mortgage lenders across the country. Way and her co-conspirators misrepresented to the mortgage lenders the credit worthiness of individual borrowers who were recruited to purchase multiple properties. In an effort to get the most favorable loan terms including 100% financing and lower interest rates, additional misrepresentations were made regarding the purchase of these properties as primary residences when, in fact, the borrowers intended to purchase the properties as investments. Fraudulent loans in excess of $24 million were obtained during the entire length of the scheme from 2004 through late 2006.
The trial against Way began on Thursday, October 1, 2009, with jury deliberations beginning yesterday afternoon. The jury returned their verdict finding Way guilty of all five counts presented in the indictment. Way has been permitted to remain on bond pending her sentencing hearing, which has been set before U.S. District Court Judge Keith Ellison on Jan. 5, 2010. Way faces a possible 20 years in prison plus a $250,000 fine and addition to restitution for the conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. The money laundering conspiracy and money laundering convictions also carry a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of $500,000, while the engaging in a monetary transaction in criminally derived property carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI, the Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of Inspector General, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division and the Department of Homeland Security – Office of Inspector General. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Melissa Annis and Vernon Lewis.
United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced the verdict.