Nicholas Lindsey, 40, Billings, Montana, who worked as a loan officer in Las Vegas, Nevada, during 2006 and 2007 was sentenced to 11 years in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay over $2.2 million in restitution for his fraud and identity theft convictions related to a mortgage fraud scheme.
The defendant was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Lloyd D. George, As previously reported by Mortgage Fraud Blog, Lindsay was convicted by a federal jury in April 2013 of nine counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
According to the indictment and evidence presented to the jury during the trial, from about May to September 2006, Lindsey, who worked as a loan officer for Clear Mortgage and Signature Mortgage, recruited straw buyers to participate in what he described as a lucrative real estate investment opportunity by purchasing five homes in the Las Vegas area. Evidence at trial demonstrated that Lindsey secured over $3 million in mortgage loans by knowingly causing to be placed in the straw buyers’ mortgage loan applications false information concerning the buyers’ income, assets and intent to occupy the homes. Once the mortgages were approved, Lindsey fraudulently diverted to his bank account a portion of the proceeds disbursed from escrow and used these funds for his own benefit. Lindsey realized additional profits by living in or renting out properties in the buyers’ names.
In addition to the five homes of which the buyers were aware, Lindsey stole two buyers’ identities and used their personal information to purchase three additional properties in their names. The evidence established that Lindsey leased two of these properties and collected rental income and used the third as his own personal residence. After collecting profits, Lindsey stopped making the mortgage payments on the properties and allowed all eight homes to default in the borrowers’ names, causing an estimated loss to lenders of $1.6 million. At sentencing, the court also found that Lindsey used his position as a loan officer to commit fraud in relation to five additional properties, causing additional losses of $703,005 for a total loss of approximately $2.3 million.
Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada and Mythili Raman, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, announced the sentence.
The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christina Brown and Trial Attorney Brian Young of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
“Many innocent homeowners in Nevada have suffered because of this type of crime involving fraudulent residential mortgage transactions,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “Unfortunately, these crimes are not victimless and the damage to the community is lasting. Since 2008, when the FBI and our office made mortgage fraud prosecutions a priority, we have investigated, charged and convicted hundreds of persons for federal mortgage fraud crimes and most of them are now serving time in federal prison.”