Stephen Holman has been sentenced to 12 years in prison. After a 7 day trial, a jury found Stephen Holman guilty of 15 theft related mortgage fraud offenses involving two houses valued at $1,575,000. These houses are located at 38710 Flanders Drive and 6749 Winston Lane, Solon, Ohio and were fraudulently purchased with loans totaling $1,488,750 from three lenders. Other co-defendants who pleaded guilty before trial and who testified against Holman were also sentenced.
As previously reported by Mortgage Fraud Blog, Holman, who was a mortgage loan officer for the now defunct Buckeye Lending, a mortgage brokerage company, submitted a $850,000 false loan application to New Century Mortgage Company, no longer in business, for a “straw buyer” to purchase a newly constructed house at 38710 Flanders Drive. Holman was aided and abetted by others to help him submit this bogus application. Holman received a $49,100 kickback plus his loan commission, and he helped arrange for a total kickback of $140,000 from the builder, who pleaded guilty earlier and is serving a 34 month prison sentence.
The straw buyer received a $31,000 kickback, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to serve one year in prison, because he signed these loan papers stating that he was an engineer living in Beachwood, making $204,000 a year for a company called Classic Tango. This buyer was actually a local cab driver who lived in Cleveland. Holman used another co-defendant, Phillip Taylor, the owner of Classic Tango, to falsely verify the buyer’s employment. Taylor pleaded guilty and testified against Holman. Others who aided and abetted Holman were Jeffrey Brown, Ike Osuji, and Brian Chenoweth, president of Widdershin One, Inc. Brown, also a mortgage broker at Buckeye Lending, pleaded guilty and testified against Holman. Osuji was a middle man who brought the straw buyer to Holman, and later in the deal Osuji posed as a buyer to a tenant living in the Flanders house. Osuji, who was paid $9,000 by Holman, pleaded guilty, and testified against Holman. Brian Chenoweth is a fugitive and is believed to out of the county. Brown, Osuji and Taylor were sentenced to confinement. Brown was sentenced to three years in prison; Osuji to 6 months, and Taylor to 30 days in the county jail.
The second Solon house that Stephen Holman brokered is located at 6749 Winston Lane. A false loan application was submitted by a buyer, Karl Whittingham, 30, Cleveland, Ohio, who purchased this house for $725,000 in September 2005, by submitting false loan applications for a $500,000 first mortgage loan from Argent Mortgage Company, LLC, and a $188.750 second mortgage loan from GB Home Equity, LLC. Holman overstated the buyer’s income by $100,000 and his bank accounts by $16,000 to these lenders. Holman also engaged in a scheme regarding the $36,400 down payment. No down payment was actually made because third parties engineered a scheme to deceive the lenders. Theodore Calkins, owner of and licensed broker at Buckeye Lending, also participated in the mortgage fraud scheme. Calkins and Whittingham pleaded guilty to misdeamors and concluded their cases by re-paying the money they received.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason announced the sentencing.
Prosecutor Mason said, “This broker took advantage of relaxed standards of the subprime industry-he knew the buyer did not have the income to qualify for a $490,000 loan. His bogus claim that he had no obligation to verify a stated loan is representative of the countless unscrupulous brokers that have contributed to the rampant mortgage fraud in Cuyahoga County. His proven guilt in this trial sends a strong message that brokers will be held accountable for trumped up information submitted by anyone involved in buying a house.”