Travis Richard Hymas, 29, American Fork, Utah, formerly of Meridian, Idaho, was sentenced in United States District Court to 24 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for wire fraud. U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge also ordered Hymas to pay $241,307.04 in restitution and serve 80 hours of community service.
As previously reported by Mortgage Fraud Blog, a federal jury convicted Hymas on June 22, 2012 on five counts of wire fraud related to mortgage fraud. During the eight-day trial, the jury heard evidence that between November 2006 and March 2007, Hymas defrauded five lenders on nine residential loans valued at approximately $1.7 million.
According to court documents, Travis and his wife Season filed a bankruptcy petition on July 17, 2008, in United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Idaho. On March 19, 2009, a substantial amount of the debt they owed on the fraudulent loans was discharged by the bankruptcy proceeding. Season Hymas is set for trial in Boise on November 13, 2012.
In a related case, Aaron Michael Hymas, 38, the former chief executive officer of Crestwood Construction, and Tiffany Kim Hymas, 37, Bountiful, Utah, who are husband and wife, pled guilty to wire fraud. According to the plea agreements, in March 2007, the Hymases schemed to defraud a lender by knowingly submitting a residential loan application containing material misrepresentations regarding Tiffany Hymas‘ employment, wages, commissions, and monthly income from rental properties.
The cases are part of an investigation of mortgage fraud activity related to Crestwood, which involved multiple defendants who bought and sold real estate in order to “flip” it, or gain profits from the sales. The financial institutions and mortgage lenders incurred substantial losses on the loan transactions.
Nine others have been sentenced in related cases, including Michael J. Hymas, Shauntee K. Ferguson, Christopher R. Georgeson, Stanley J. Ferguson, Brent Bethers, Shane Merlin Hymas, Laurie Krechelle Hymas, Melody C. Redondo, and Paul Redondo.
U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced the sentence.
“Today’s sentence is the fair and just result of Mr. Hymas’ efforts, in coordination with others, to undermine the integrity of our home financing system,” said Olson. “Mr. Hymas sought to manipulate home loans for personal profit, leaving financial institutions and investors with significant losses. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, along with our prosecuting and law enforcement partners at all levels, are committed to combating mortgage fraud. I commend the investigators and prosecutors who have successfully pursued those involved in the Crestwood Homes fraud schemes.”
The cases were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, with assistance provided by the Office of the United States Trustee and the Idaho Department of Insurance. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho and the State of Idaho, Office of the Attorney General.
The 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’s 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.