Brendan Tyler Cassity, 36, CEO of Utah Financial Inc, and his wife, Olivia Cassity, 29, both of Midvale, Utah, were charged with 15 counts of communications fraud, one count of racketeering and two counts of money laundering, for allegedly running a lucrative mortgage fraud scheme.
According to court documents, the Cassitys allegedly prepared their own appraisals using the name of a separate licensed appraiser and substituting photos of more lavish homes as part of those appraisals to inflate the value of the real estate described in those appraisals. They then allegedly used straw buyers to obtain loans far in excess of the true value of the properties. Equity was then allegedly skimmed from the properties in order to gain tax advantages and buy other properties. The alleged scheme may have netted several million dollars.
“The ripple effect of mortgage fraud schemes across the country is far-reaching and significant,” says Attorney General Mark L. Shurtleff. “The Utah Attorney General’s Office places a high priority on uncovering and squelching predatory practices of unscrupulous mortgage brokers. Some of these so-called ‘mortgage assistance’ programs are merely schemes to defraud people of their money and their homes.”
The Attorney General’s Office has asked a judge to freeze the assets of the defendants and is seeking criminal forfeiture of their business at 193 East Fort Union Boulevard in Midvale and their home in Salt Lake City. Prosecutors are also asking that bail be set at $500,000 for each defendant.
Each second-degree felony is punishable by one-to-15 years in prison. All defendants are innocent unless found guilty in a court of law. Video of investigators serving a search warrant on Utah Financial in December 2008 is available at http://www.attorneygeneral.utah.gov/UFSearch.html.