David Saks: TITLE COMPANY EMPLOYEE PLEADS GUILTY TO FILING FALSE TAX RETURNS AFTER EMBEZZLING MORE THAN $382,000

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TITLE COMPANY EMPLOYEE PLEADS GUILTY TO FILING FALSE TAX RETURNS AFTER EMBEZZLING MORE THAN $382,000

Former Towson Title Company Employee Pleads Guilty to Filing False Tax Returns After Embezzling More Than $382,000

U.S. Attorney’s Office October 14, 2011
  • District of Maryland (410) 209-4800
BALTIMORE—Collette Snyder, age 42, of Timonium, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to filing false tax returns in 2007 and 2008, after she did not claim over $382,000 she embezzled from her employer, Maple Leaf Title.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Special Agent in Charge Barbara Golden of the United States Secret Service - Baltimore Field Office; and Acting Special Agent in Charge Jeannine A. Hammett of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington D.C. Field Office.

“Mortgage fraud adds to the underground economy that erodes the integrity of our tax system and threatens the financial health of our communities. IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to ‘following the money trail’ to ensure that those who engage in these illegal activities are vigorously investigated and brought to justice,” said IRS - Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Jeannine A. Hammett.

According to her plea, beginning in 2005 Snyder worked at Maple Leaf Title (MLT), a real estate title agency located in Towson, Maryland, processing the recording of deeds and other post-settlement requirements at courthouses throughout Maryland.

In order to accomplish her duties, Snyder was granted signature authority over MLT’s operating, settlement, and recording accounts, among others.

Beginning in 2007, Snyder began embezzling money from MLT accounts by depositing MLT checks into her personal bank account.

She made checks payable to her husband, without his knowledge, then forged her husband’s signature and deposited the checks into an account she controlled.

She also made checks out directly to herself and deposited them.

In the memo section of some of the checks Snyder embezzled from MLT accounts, she would falsely claim the checks were for “payroll,” even though she had already received her salary from MLT.

Snyder embezzled approximately $149,560 in 2007, and $232,968 in 2008, using the funds to purchase jewelry, antique furniture, clothing, a BMW, home improvements, travel, and tuition payments to a private school, among other things.

Snyder did not report this income on either her 2007 or 2008 tax returns, resulting in a tax loss of $115,529.37.

Because of the embezzlement from MLT’s escrow account by Snyder and by Anthony Weis, MLT’s president, MLT did not have sufficient funds to pay off existing mortgage loan notes on properties for which MLT had performed settlement services.

As a result, Weis directed MLT employees in 13 real estate closings conducted in 2009 to withhold the payoff checks from institutions that held the existing mortgage loan notes on the properties.

Because the existing mortgages had not been paid off, clear title could not be passed to the new lender and borrower.

An insurance company that had issued title insurance policies to the borrowers guaranteeing clear title ultimately paid out $3.9 million to financial institutions that held mortgage notes.

Weis pleaded guilty to wire fraud, was sentenced to 78 months in prison and was ordered to pay restitution of $4,007,705, which includes the loss to the title insurance company and the expenses of the individual victims.

Snyder faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of $250,000. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake has scheduled his sentencing for February 3, 2012 at 11:00 am.

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.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the FBI, Secret Service and IRS - Criminal Investigation for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein praised Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gregory R. Bockin and Stephen M. Schenning, who are prosecuting the case.

Courtesy FBI



David Saks



Time&Temp Memphis

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Comment balloon 10 commentsDavid Saks • October 15 2011 01:39AM

Comments

Some people go to great lengths to have a short gain in life.  It usually does not work.

Posted by Tim Lorenz, 949 874-2247 (TIM LORENZ - Elite Home Sales Team) over 8 years ago

Short, dishonest gains equal long prison terms for those who can't resist the temptation to rip off their clients, Tim.

Posted by David Saks ((retired)) over 8 years ago

This is very sad indeed .Am I reading this wrong but Snyder took the money  with Weis? Or weiz just did not pay off the mortgages .  These are sad states of affairs .

HelpfulHannah

Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) over 8 years ago

Weis became involved, Hannah, according to the FBI, as the president of MLT, when he ordered his employees to withold the payoff checks needed to release the titles to the lenders and borrowers because his company didn't have the funds for the payoffs. He was sentenced to 6 and a half years in prison for wire fraud. If he was covering Snyder's embezzlement it's easy to understand why he was prosecuted. I believe he should have alerted the title insurance company, lenders and borrowers on the front end and cooperated with the authorities to prosecute Snyder when he discovered what she had done if he hadn't been involved. I'm not sure that it would have indemnified him, but if he hadn't witheld funds maybe it would have been better for him. The FBI report doesn't indicate to what exent, if any, Weis was involved with Snyder's scheme prior to his actions to withold funds, although Snyder did have signature authority.

The crime of wire fraud is codified at 18 U.S.C. § 1343, and reads as follows:

Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. If the violation affects a financial institution, such person shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.
Posted by David Saks ((retired)) over 8 years ago

David  Fascinating absolutely fascinating !

Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) over 8 years ago

David -- My reading of the article is that Weis was also embezzling funds - and the two together ended up messing up lots of lives.   You would think by now these characters would know that if you are going to embezzle money - at least report it on your income tax form.  Penalties are probably less for embezzlement than tax evasion - and the IRS usually finds out (isn't that who took down some of the crime lords last century?)

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) over 8 years ago

More like horrifying, Hannah.

Posted by David Saks ((retired)) over 8 years ago

The IRS did a stellar job with Capone, Steven.

Posted by David Saks ((retired)) over 8 years ago

Mind boggling what some people think they can get away with!

Posted by Kathy Stoltman, Ventura County Real Estate Consultant 805-746-1793 (Rockwood Realty) over 8 years ago

The frequency of this type of crime is alarming, Kathy. Many at the helm of our banking institutions have abused the trust given them, and continue to do so, daily, throughout the nation and the world.

Posted by David Saks ((retired)) over 8 years ago

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