Woman Sentenced for Downpayment Fraud

Allison Tussey —  December 5, 2012 — Leave a comment

Antoinette Payne, 44, North Royalton, Ohio, a loan officer, was sentenced to more than two years in prison for a mortgage-fraud scheme that resulted in a loss of more than $1 million.

The defendant was sentenced to 27 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Gaughan and ordered to pay more than $1.3 million in restitution.

She previously pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud andconspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme to defraud various lenders.

Payne worked as a mortgage broker and loan officer for Supreme Funding, Euclid, Ohio. She was also the owner of TLC Properties and Designer Loan Properties, which were simply sham companies that she used to receive kickbacks and reimbursements for undisclosed down payment assistance she was providing to purchasers from the various loans’ closings she was handling, according to court documents.

These funds were in addition to the fees paid to Payne as a mortgage broker and loan officer in handling these transactions. Payne recruited purchasers for properties and promised to pay them money for filling out the paperwork for a mortgage loans where the price of the properties had been greatly inflated. She also provided any down payments as necessary, according to court documents.

To accomplish this, Payne sometimes drew money out of her TLC bank account and purchased official checks made payable to the title company as purported down payments by purchasers. Payne also falsified the income and asset on the loan documents of the purchasers she recruited to ensure their approval. She provided phony lists of improvements to the lender to support inflated the price of the real estate, according to court documents.

Once the purchasers stopped making payments on the mortgage loans, the properties went into default, resulting in a loss to lenders in the amount of approximately $1 million, according to court documents.

Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John M. Siegel and Christian H. Stickan, following investigation by agents of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cleveland Office, with the assistance of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General in Cleveland.

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