Gia Joy Glasse-Harris, 27, Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced to prison by United States District Judge Amy Totenberg on charges of conspiring to commit mortgage fraud.
Glasse-Harris was sentenced to 3 years, 1 month in prison, to include the final 6 months in home confinement as part of 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $174,000. Glasse-Harris pleaded guilty to the charges on August 24, 2011.
According to the charges and other information presented in court: From May 2009 through February 2010, Glasse-Harris engaged in a conspiracy to defraud that involved reverse mortgages. Reverse mortgages were designed to assist senior citizens by allowing them to either receive a loan based on equity they have in their home or by allowing them to receive a loan to be used for the purchase of a new home. Under either scenario, the senior citizen does not have to repay the lender for as long as they live in the home, but the borrower must have and retain significant equity in the home. Reverse mortgages are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
Glasse-Harris, who is not a senior citizen, attempted to take advantage of the reverse mortgage program by using forged deeds to transfer property into the name of a senior citizen, while fraudulently inflating the value of the property by more than five times the true value. Glasse-Harris then attempted to “sell” the property at the inflated value to a second senior citizen, using fraudulent “gift” letters to create a down payment, so that the senior citizen would appear to have equity in the property. Glasse-Harris‘ attempt to obtain this reverse mortgage was declined by the lender, and her subsequent efforts at additional reverse loan fraud in the name of another senior citizen were thwarted by a government sting that implicated Glasse-Harris and others.
This law enforcement action is part of President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.
President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.
This case was investigated by Special Agents of the HUD Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorneys Gale McKenzie and Christopher C. Bly prosecuted the case.
United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “We will not stand by and allow criminals to victimize senior citizens, the FHA or the lenders, and we will continue our commitment to end the devastating effects of mortgage fraud.”
Herschell Harvell, Jr., Special Agent in Charge, Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Dept of Housing and Urban Development in Atlanta, said, “This case and others, who prey on our senior citizens by defrauding HUD’s HECUM program (Reverse Mortgage Program) will be aggressively investigated and led to justice. The collaboration between HUD OIG, FBI and the U.S Attorney’s Office was invaluable in attaining the appropriate resolution to this investigation. We will continue our efforts in protecting the integrity of the HECUM program and ensuring taxpayers dollars are not stolen by those who want to take advantage of our senior citizens.”