Real Estate Agent Jailed for Defrauding Lenders

Allison Tussey —  February 4, 2013 — Leave a comment

Safiyyah Tahir Battles, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, formerly a real estate agent with T&T Realty, has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for mortgage fraud and money laundering.

On June 21, 2012, a jury convicted Battles of using an interstate wire facility to defraud Saxon Mortgage and engaging in a monetary transaction with more than $10,000 from the proceeds of crime. The evidence at trial showed that in April 2007, she used her sister’s mortgage brokerage company, Lending Leaders, to apply for a $500,000 loan from Saxon Mortgage, Fort Worth, Texas. Saxon required her to provide 12 months of bank statements to support her income and assets. The jury heard evidence that the bank statements had been altered by adding more than $100,000 to the ending balance on each statement, by deleting her husband’s name as an account holder, and by removing numerous overdraft fees.

At the closing on May 4, 2007, Battles signed a final loan application that stated falsely that she earned $344,677.92 per year and had $165,907.70 in her bank account. According to a tax return that she filed in March 2009, Battles‘s adjusted gross income for 2006 was $14,001; according to the records of First Security Bank, her actual account balance on May 4, 2007, was $852.50.

Based on the application information, a forged letter, and communications with the mortgage brokerage on the day of closing, Saxon Mortgage authorized $102,630.01 from the loan proceeds to be paid to a local builder. Battles took the $102,630.01 check at closing, deposited into her own bank account, and used it for her own purposes. The money laundering count relates to a $15,000 check that Battles wrote to her mother, Trina Tahir, two days after she deposited the $102,630.01 check.

United States District Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti sentenced Battles to 30 months in prison and ordered her to pay restitution of $326,902.34. She will be required to serve two years on supervised release after her prison term, including 104 hours of community service. The court also imposed a forfeiture judgment in the amount of $102,630.01. The sentence was based on the counts of conviction, as well as fraud that Battles perpetrated in connection with five other residential mortgages.

Sanford C. Coats, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma announced the sentence.

This sentence is the result of an investigation conducted by the IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott E. Williams and Chris M. Stephens.

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