Archives For straw borrower

Arthur Samuels, 41, Mattapan, Massachusetts, a former bank manager was sentenced to one year and one day in prison, two years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution of $2,229,492 in connection with a multi-year, multi-property mortgage fraud scheme in Dorchester, Massachussetts.  In 2012, Samuels pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud and one count of bank fraud.

From 2007 to 2008, Samuels engaged in a scheme with Michael David Scott, and others, to purchase multi-family residences and then sell individual condominium units in the buildings to straw buyers.  Scott, a former realtor and developer, arranged to purchase multi-family residences and then sold individual condominium units to straw buyers recruited as investors by him, Samuels, and co-conspirators, Jerold Fowler and Thursa Raetz.  Scott and his co-conspirators recruited straw buyers with promises that they would not have to make down payments, pay any funds at closing, or be responsible for mortgage payments, and would share in profits when the units were resold.  In order to obtain mortgage loans for some of the straw buyers, Samuels created bogus bank deposits falsely representing that the straw buyers’ accounts had large balances with his bank.  Scott then submitted mortgage loan applications that falsely represented key information, such as the buyers’ income, personal assets, down payment, and intention to reside in the condominiums.  The mortgage lenders, (nine national mortgage companies and one local bank) were led to believe that the straw buyers had made substantial down payments and paid substantial sums at closing.  In addition, Samuels also recruited a straw buyer for the purchase of two condominiums, and acted as a straw buyer himself on three properties.

In November 2015, Scott was sentenced to 135 months in prison, and Fowler and Raetz were sentenced to two years in prison.

Samuels was sentenced by U.S. District Court Senior Judge Mark L. Wolf .  United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Joel P. Garland, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston, made the announcement today.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Victor A. Wild and Ryan M. DiSantis of Ortiz’s Criminal Division.

John D. Harrison, Jr., 53, Greenwood, South Carolina, Henry A. Dorn, 63, Greenwood, South Carolina, Kevin Dempsey, 45, Greenwood, South Carolina, and C. Jody Hazel, 42,Greenwood, South Carolina, pled guilty in federal court in Greenville, South Carolina, to conspiracy to commit bank fraud.  United States District Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks, of Charleston accepted the pleas and will impose sentence after she has reviewed the presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that Harrison was a real estate developer who developed high end residential properties in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Dorn, Dempsey and Hazel were accountants for the accounting firm that prepared Harrison’s financial statements and tax returns. Dorn primarily serviced Harrison’s account.  Harrison obtained loans from numerous banks and individuals to fund his real estate developments. A review of Harrison’s financial statements that were provided to banks from August 31, 2000 until May 31, 2008, indicated that Harrison significantly understated his total debt—that is, the financial statements contained false information and this false information was material to the lenders and was meant to influence the actions of the lenders.  Dorn prepared these financial statements for Harrison. In essence, Dorn kept two sets of books for Harrison: one with false numbers and one with accurate numbers.

Harrison also entered into Accommodation Borrowing Agreements with Dorn, Dempsey and Hazel in which these three men served as straw purchasers for Harrison.  The agreements allow for Harrison to sell the property to Dorn, Dempsey and Hazel and continue to develop and sell the properties. The interest payments would be paid by Harrison and the loans would be paid off when Harrison sold the property. The profit or loss would belong to Harrison and Harrison would pay a fee to Dorn, Dempsey or Hazel totaling 3% of the loan amount. The agreements were not disclosed to the banks until after the loans went past due.

In addition to the undisclosed agreements, Dorn, Dempsey and Hazel all understated their debt when applying for their respective real estate loans—that is, the financial statements contained false information.  Law enforcement estimates that federally insured banks lost in excess of $10 million in scheme and artifice to defraud.

United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated the maximum penalty the Defendants can receive is a fine of $1,000,000 and/or imprisonment for 30 years, plus a special assessment of $100.

The case was announced by United States Attorney Bill Nettles and investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant United States Attorney Bill Watkins of the Greenville office handled the case.