11 Indicted In Ohio Mortgage Fraud Scheme

admin —  February 4, 2009 — Leave a comment

Eleven defendants and two companies were indicted for mortgage fraud offenses involving three Solon, Ohio houses and $2,349,000 in fraudulent loans. The three houses fell into foreclosure.

1. Dana Fort orchestrated a mortgage fraud scam with five other associates on a house located at 38190 Flanders Drive, Solon, Ohio. Straw buyer, Vido Tatum, with the assistance of Dana Fort, Steven Pearlman, and Stephanie Walker, fabricated his employment, income, and rental payments to obtain a $799,000 loan to purchase the house. Fort falsely indicated to the lender, Novastar Mortgage, that Tatum worked at his company, DEF and Associates, earning over $100,000 annually, when Tatum actually earned $49,200 as a sales manager at Aaron’s Rentals.

Steven Pearlman, a loan officer at Money Tree Inc., prepared and signed the fraudulent loan application and forwarded the application to the lender. Pearlman failed to verify any information regarding Tatum’s loan qualifications. From her ex-boyfriend’s home, Stephanie Walker faxed fraudulent wage/tax information provided to her by Fort to the lender. Deric Nichols doctored Tatum’s rental lease information by increasing his rent payments by $200 a month.

Fort indicated that Lisa Roberts would receive the closing proceeds, which totaled $99,000 for work never done on the home. Roberts received a $79,000 disbursement check and then purchased five official checks and kept the balance after distributing $47,000 to Tatum and $9,500 Deric Nichols. Fort created a fictitious $20,000 check to cover the purported $99,000 improvements. Two companies, D.E.F and Associates, owned by Fort, and Global Property Management, owned by Nichols, were used to prepare fraudulent information, secure money by deception, fax fraudulent documents, forge various writings and assist in the money laundering.

Dana Fort, 47, Reminderville, Ohio, was indicted on Theft by Deception (F2), Receiving Stolen Property (F3), Falsification (F3), Money Laundering (F3), Telecommunications Fraud (F3), Securing Writings by Deception (F3), and 2x Forgery (F3).

Vido Tatum, 48, Solon, Ohio, was indicted on Theft by Deception (F2), Receiving Stolen Property (F3), Falsification (F3), Money Laundering (F3), Securing Writings by Deception (F3), and 2x Forgery (F3).

Stephanie Walker, 36, East Cleveland, Ohio, was indicted on Theft by Deception (F2) and Telecommunications Fraud (F3).

Deric Nichols, 42, Warrensville Heights, Ohio, was indicted on Theft by Deception (F2), Receiving Stolen Property (F3), Falsification (F3), Money Laundering (F3), Telecommunications Fraud (F3), Securing Writings by Deception (F3), and 2x Forgery (F3).

Steven Pearlman, 45, currently of Cedar Hill, Texas, was indicted on Theft by Deception (F2), Falsification (F3), Telecommunications Fraud (F3), Securing Writings by Deception (F3), and 2x Forgery (F3).

Lisa Roberts, 43, Cleveland, Ohio, was indicted on Theft by Deception (F2), Receiving Stolen Property (F3), Falsification (F3), and Money Laundering (F3).

D.E.F. and Associates was indicted on Theft by Deception (F2), Receiving Stolen Property (F3), Falsification (F3), Money Laundering (F3), Telecommunications Fraud (F3), Securing Writings by Deception (F3), and 2x Forgery (F3). The company faces a maximum fine of $15,000 on each F3 charge and $20,000 on each F2 charge.

Global Property Management was indicted on Theft by Deception (F2), Receiving Stolen Property (F3), Falsification (F3), Money Laundering (F3), Telecommunications Fraud (F3), Securing Writings by Deception (F3), and 2x Forgery (F3).

2. Carolyn Turbeville, with assistance of five others, fraudulently obtained a $490,000 loan from Meritage Mortgage to purchase the house at 7234 Liberty Road, Solon, Ohio. She submitted five false rental lease agreements to inflate her income and fraudulently signed an affidavit and agreement of occupancy statement, but never lived in the house. Carol Smith faxed false loan documents to the lender from her office. At closing, Turbeville received $37,000, and Sharon Cox, the daughter of Carol Smith, received $35,500, of which Carol Smith received $9,500.

Carolyn Turbeville, 51, Solon, Ohio, was indicted on Theft by Deception (F3), Receiving Stolen Property (F4), Falsification (F3), Money Laundering (F3), Telecommunications Fraud (F3), Securing Writings by Deception (F4), and 2x Forgery (F3).

Sharon Cox, 48, Aurora, Ohio, was indicted on Theft by Deception (F3), Receiving Stolen Property (F4), and Money Laundering (F3).

Carol Smith, 67, Aurora, Ohio, was indicted on Theft by Deception (F3), Receiving Stolen Property (F4), Falsification (F3), Money Laundering (F3), Telecommunications Fraud (F3), and Securing Writings by Deception (F4).

3. Arnold Patterson fraudulently obtained a $495,000 loan from Argent Mortgage to purchase the newly built house at 35900 Sedge Circle, Solon, Ohio. Patterson signed and submitted a false loan application which included false wage information, stating he was a supervisor earning $106,944 annually. Patterson actually earned $43,337.80 working as a repairman for the Cleveland Water Department. He also inflated his monthly rental lease payments by $275 a month, signed a fraudulent promissory note which was never repaid, and signed two different HUD statements.

Carol Smith, who set up the scam, signed a fraudulent work order indicating she completed $125,000 in improvements, though the house was newly built. Smith received and endorsed a disbursement check for $2,216.99 which was part of $64,500 fraudulently disbursed at closing.

Smith directed the monies to go to Patterson, Sharon Cox and Fred Watkins. At closing, Patterson received $20,000, Cox $32,283.01, and Watkins $10,000. Cox also fraudulently opened a telephone account using personal identification information of a friend without her approval. The remaining balance of the bogus $125,000 home improvements was used to inflate the value of the house to flip it a second time.

Approximately a year later, Patterson sold the house to Curtis Bloxson. Bloxson fraudulently obtained a $565,000 loan from Meritage Mortgage by submitting a false loan application. He falsified his salary and position at Sunoco Logistics; he claimed to be a supervisor earning $168,000 but actually was earning $51,000 a year working in the company’s warehouse. Bloxson further signed an occupancy clause when he never resided in the house. At closing, Sharon Cox received a fraudulent disbursement check for $39,701.33 but was not involved in the purchase/sale of the house. She then fraudulently wired $24,000 to Bloxson’s Federal Credit Union Account. Carol Smith prepared and submitted fraudulent information on the deal to the lender. Additionally, Arnold Patterson was fraudulently relieved of paying $10,551 in delinquent property taxes, which were illegally paid out of escrow at closing. Kasib Husain prepared and sent via fax a fraudulent request for verification of rent in Bloxson’s name. This included fraudulent length of rental at 3644 East 151st and fraudulent length of rental and rental payment at 35905 Brushwood, Solon, Ohio.

Arnold Patterson, 64, Cleveland, Ohio, was indicted on 2x Theft by Deception (F3), 2x Receiving Stolen Property (F4), Falsification (F3), 2x Money Laundering (F3), Telecommunications Fraud (F3), Securing Writings by Deception (F4), and 2x Forgery (F3).

Kasib Husain, 40, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, was indicted on Falsification (F3), Telecommunications Fraud (F3), Securing Writings by Deception (F4), and 2x Forgery (F3).

Curtis Bloxson, 50 Warrensville Heights, Ohio, was indicted on Theft by Deception (F3), Receiving Stolen Property (F4), Falsification (F3), Telecommunications Fraud (F3), Securing Writings by Deception (F4), and 2x Forgery (F3).

Sharon Cox, 48, Aurora, Ohio, was indicted on 2x Theft by Deception (F3), 2x Receiving Stolen Property (F4), Falsification (F3), 2x Money Laundering (F3), and 2x Forgery (F3).

Carol Smith, 67, Aurora, Ohio, was indicted on Theft by Deception (F3), 2x Falsification (F3), 2x Money Laundering (F3), 2x Telecommunications Fraud (F3), 2x Securing Writings by Deception (F4), and 4x Forgery (F3).

The Solon Police Department led the investigation.

The Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission’s Cuyahoga County Mortgage Fraud Task Force is comprised of 16 federal, state, and local enforcement agencies. Task force members are: Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office, Cleveland Heights Police Department, Solon Police Department, Cleveland Police Department, Pepper Pike Police Department, HUD, Cuyahoga County Auditor, Cuyahoga County Treasurer, Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Financial Investigation, F.B.I., U.S. Attorney’s Office, and U.S. Postal Inspector.

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