California Man Sentenced to More Than Five Years in Prison in Nevada Mortgage Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office July 26, 2013|
LAS VEGAS—A California man who orchestrated a double escrow mortgage fraud scheme involving eight houses in the Las Vegas, Nevada area has been sentenced to five-and-a-half years in federal prison and three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay over $3.5 million in restitution, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
George Anderson, 55, of Copperopolis, California, was sentenced on Thursday, July 25, 2013, by Senior U.S. District Judge Roger L. Hunt. Anderson was indicted in March 2011 and pleaded guilty in April 2013 to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
“During the mid- to late 2000s, thousands of fraudulent residential mortgage transactions in Nevada caused financial hardships for many innocent homeowners and hundreds of millions of dollars of loss to financial institutions and investors,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “We made this type of fraud a priority and through the end of 2012 had prosecuted 213 persons, most of who were convicted and sent to prison.”
According to the plea agreement, in about 2005, Anderson solicited four straw buyers to buy seven houses in Henderson, Nevada, and one house in Las Vegas, with the understanding that Anderson would control the houses and later re-sell them at a profit.
Anderson solicited a co-defendant, Andrew Swan, 38, of Heyworth, Illinois, to buy the houses from the straw buyers at inflated prices in exchange for Swan receiving a portion of the profit from each sale.
Swan then recruited a relative to purchase several of the homes again at further inflated prices.
False information was submitted to the lenders and to the escrow company in order to receive the loans and to cause disbursement of the loan proceeds to Swan’s company, Creative Capital Group, and Anderson’s company, Anderson Financial Group.
Approximately $54,000 to $86,000 from the sale of each home was dispersed to Creative Capital Group; approximately $67,000 to $164,000 from the sale of each home was dispersed to Anderson Financial Group; and approximately $19,000 to $69,000 was dispersed to each original straw buyer.
The majority of the mortgage payments for the homes were not paid and the homes went into foreclosure. At least 16 mortgage loans totaling approximately $6.5 million were obtained as part of the conspiracy to defraud, and the financial institutions suffered a loss of approximately $3.5 million.
The co-defendant Swan also pleaded guilty and was sentenced in June to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $3.5 million in restitution.
Anderson and Swan are currently released on bond and must self-report to federal prison by October 25, 2013, and August 16, 2013, respectively.
The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah E. Griswold and Brian Pugh.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.