Phillip D. Thomas, 50, appraiser, Kansas City, Missouri, was sentenced to twenty-four months in federal prison and was ordered to pay $6,309,277.20 in restitution for his role in a conspiracy to defraud home buyers and mortgage lenders of millions of dollars. Thomas pled guilty to conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering on April 27, 2005.
Thomas was a real estate appraiser doing business as Thomas Appraisal Service in Kansas City and Lee’s Summit, Missouri. He did appraisals for Ameriquest Mortgage , Gladstone, Missouri, and Countrywide Home Loans, which also did business as America’s Wholesale Lender, as well as other mortgage companies, lenders and brokers.
Thomas pleaded guilty on April 27, 2005, to a three-count federal information. Count One involved Thomas conspiring to fraudulently obtain approximately 177 loans on properties connected to Brent Barber, 42 and co-conspirators Chauncey Calvert, 36, Roderick Neil Criss, 35, Avonda Nicodemus, 34, and Robert Dale Beckley, 34, in the amount of more than $12 million from mortgage companies between May 1999 and June 28, 2002, in Kansas City and Lee’s Summit, Missouri.
As part of the conspiracy, Thomas admitted that Barber and the co-conspirators solicited victim-investors to obtain loans to purchase real estate. The loans were obtained by preparing fraudulent loan applications and supporting documentation for submission to the mortgage companies in the names of the victim investors. The fraudulent information included false and inflated appraisals. That false information was submitted to the mortgage companies, which would, as a result, approve the respective loans.
Thomas‘s role in the conspiracy was to prepare false and inflated appraisals and to instruct his co-conspirators to conceal and disguise the actual poor condition of properties from lenders to justify the inflated appraisals. Thomas also fabricated rental income information on properties to support the valuations his co-conspirators wanted on the properties.
For example, Thomas gave an inflated appraisal for $42,000 on a home located at 2012 Elmwood, Kansas City, Missouri, on July 28, 1999, when he knew that the home was sold to a co-conspirator for $8,500 on March 16, 1999.
As part of the conspiracy, Thomas admitted that he prepared a total of 75 inflated appraisals between June 9, 1999, and November 1, 2000.
On Febuary 23, 2006, Barber pleaded guilty to 104 counts contained in two federal indictments. Those indictments, as well as a third federal indictment for which Barber was convicted by a jury, involve separate schemes to defraud mortgage lending companies of millions of dollars. Barber was sentenced on October 27, 2005, to 12 years and seven months in federal prison without parole. Barber was also ordered to pay $11,206,419 in restitution.
Each of the co-conspirators have pleaded guilty. Criss was sentenced to three years and one month in federal prison without parole and ordered to pay $4,553,188 in restitution. Calvert was sentenced to one year and six months in federal prison without parole and ordered to pay $9,146,578 in restitution. Beckley was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison without parole and ordered to pay $7,988,077 in restitution. Nicodemus was sentenced to five years of probation, including four months of electronic monitoring, and ordered to pay $1,158,501 in restitution.
On December 2, 2005, Barber was found guilty of three counts contained in an October 7, 2004, federal indictment.
That case involved a property flipping and mortgage fraud scheme while Barber was involved in the business of buying and selling real estate, doing business as KC Properties and KC Securities LLC.
Vernon David Williams, 58, of Kansas City, was an employee of mortgage brokerage companies in Merriam, Kansas, and Lee’s Summit, Missouri. Williams pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme and was sentenced to five years of probation.
The jury found that Barber conspired with Williams to defraud MILA, Inc., a mortgage lending company with its principal office in Mountlake Terrace, Washington, and Finance America LLC, a mortgage lending company with its principal office in Irvine, California, from July 24, 2004, to September 16, 2004.
In separate but related cases:
Daryl Ann Daniel, 52, Independence, Missouri, pleaded guilty to defrauding a mortgage lender during the sale of property she owned in Independence, Missouri. Daniel, who was employed as a title company closer, awaits sentencing.
Wanda L. Barber, 62, Belton, Missouri, the mother of Brent Barber, was sentenced to four years of probation after pleading guilty to perjury while testifying before the grand jury. Wanda Barber admitted that she made several false material declarations while testifying under oath to a federal grand jury that was engaged in an investigation of her son.
Real estate appraisers Peggy Snodgrass, 40, Independence, Missouri, who operated a business in Raytown, Missouri, pleaded guilty to providing artificially inflated appraisals on properties for which Barber was seeking mortgage loans. Snodgrass was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay $1,149,188 in restitution.
Count Two of the federal information charging Thomas with wire fraud, involved Thomas‘ role in a separate mortgage fraud scheme. He was involved in the fraud with three others who also have pleaded guilty to separate but related charges.
Anthony Long, 35, Blue Springs, Missouri, Carl Edward Long, 56, Oak Grove, Missouri, and Mitchell David Medlin, 44, of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, pleaded guilty to a federal information charging them with playing a role in devising a mortgage appraisal and down payment scheme.
Anthony Long pleaded guilty on April 22, 2005, and was sentenced on October 5, 2005 to three years and three months in federal prison without parole. Anthony Long was also ordered to pay $1,388,126 in restitution. Carl Long pleaded guilty on April 21, 2005, and was sentenced on October 6, 2005, to three years in federal prison without parole. Carl Long was also ordered to pay $79,500 in restitution. Mitchell Medlin pleaded guilty on April 21, 2005, and was sentenced on October 5, 2005, to five years probation including six months in a halfway house and six months of home detention. Medlin was also ordered to pay $1,388,126 in restitution.
Anthony Long and his father Carl Long, who worked in the mortgage lending industry and did business as Community HomeBanc, Community HomeBanc of America and First Equity Banc, initially developed the scheme to defraud both home buyers and mortgage lenders. Medlin, who was engaged in residential and light commercial construction and did business as M&R Construction, LLC, Lee’s Summit, Missouri, joined the Longs in executing the scheme after it had started.
Anthony Long, Carl Long and Medlin initially devised the scheme in which they would induce individuals to purchase duplexes at Westwind Properties in Lee’s Summit and promise them no down payments and no other expenses or obligations connected with the properties, including no closing costs. Anthony Long, Carl Long and Medlin also obtained inflated appraisals from Thomas, provided false lease and rental information in connection with the appraisals and caused false listings and sales to be entered into the multiple listing service database.
Anthony Long, Carl Long and Medlin falsely indicated to lending institutions that the buyers were paying down payments and closing costs resulting in the buyer taking out a larger loan and paying a higher price for the home than necessary. Once the loans were approved to purchase the homes at the higher appraised value, the co-defendants received payment for the purchased property based on Thomas‘s fraudulently appraised value.
By pleading guilty, Carl Long admitted that he executed a scheme to defraud multiple lending institutions of millions of dollars from Dec. 4, 2000, through Oct. 12, 2001, in Independence, Lee’s Summit, Raytown and Kansas City, Missouri, Carl Long caused a total of 15 fraudulent loans valued at approximately $2,008,860 between February 22, 2001, and October 12, 2001.
The scheme continued into Westvale Properties in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and eventually Viking Place Properties in Independence, Missouri.
Anthony Long and Medlin admitted that they were involved in the scheme from Dec. 4, 2000, through Aug. 20, 2003. They admitted that as a result of the scheme, 120 fraudulent loans were obtained valued at approximately $17,947,070.
Thomas admitted that he prepared inflated appraisals for loan applications that resulted in a total of 115 loans being obtained in a total amount of $15,660,270. An example is a home located at 410 Westwind Drive, Lee’s Summit, Missouri, which was purchased for $85,000 and sold on the same day for $125,700, a 68-percent mark-up.
By pleading guilty to Count Three of the federal information, Thomas admitted to engaging in a monetary transaction involving criminally derived funds greater than $10,000. Specifically, Thomas admitted that he purchased a residence using a loan application that contained false information, and that at the time he closed on that loan he provided false information again regarding a payment made toward the loan. Thomas claimed he was making a payment toward the loan at the time of closing when, in fact, the payment was made by another individual. Still, the loan had been approved and the lending institution sent a wire transfer for the loan in an amount of $1,132,504.17. The proceeds of the loan were then given to a coconspirator who, in turn, gave Thomas a check in the amount of $97,349.12 for his participation. Thomas then took the check he received and purchased a cashier’s check in an amount of $97,000 and deposited it into his business account.