John Wanek, 55, Phoenix, Arizona, and Robert Swanigan, 30, Mesa, Arizona, were indicted by the Franklin County, Ohio Grand Jury and are alleged to have perpetrated one of the largest mortgage fraud schemes ever in Franklin County, Ohio. The defendants were arrested March 30, 2009, in Arizona. The indictment charges Wanek with 33 counts, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, theft, forgery, telecommunications fraud, money laundering, and receiving stolen property. Swanigan is charged with theft and falsification.
The case alleges that Wanek orchestrated commercial loan fraud through his Arizona companies. Swanigan was Wanek‘s operations manager. “Our investigators tell us these men misrepresented, falsified, and omitted information to lenders in order to obtain inflated commercial mortgage loans under false pretenses,” said Ohio Attorney General Cordray. “Actions such as these have created the difficult financial circumstances affecting so many of our neighborhoods. People who were living in these complexes just wanted a safe place to live. They were left with their surroundings in disrepair while these men lived comfortably in Arizona.”
Investigators report that in the past six years Wanek obtained commercial loans in the Columbus, Ohio area through the use of false statements and forged documents. Wanek obtained loans for the purchase of six Columbus apartment complexes and one Indianapolis apartment complex. Wanek then defaulted on the loans. The Columbus-area apartment complexes at issue are two west side complexes: Ashbury Village and Greene Countrie; and four east side complexes: Colonial Village, Old Cape, Hamilton Arms and Woodcrest apartments. The Indianapolis complex is Waterstone Place.
Detectives from the Columbus Division of Police; the Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff’s Office; the Phoenix Police Department; and agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development executed search warrants at Wanek‘s Phoenix-area business two weeks ago. Investigators allege that Wanek’s businesses – Red Rock Management LLC and Associated Management LLC – operated as the flashpoint of the fraudulent loans. Wanek had been indicted in March 2008 in a case alleging mortgage fraud on Franklin County properties worth more than $15 million. That case was due to go to trial this month. The new
indictment incorporates the previous case and adds mortgage fraud allegations concerning properties worth an additional $23 million dollars. The criminal cases against Wanek and Swanigan will be prosecuted by the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office.
The indictments and arrests are the result of an investigation by the Central Ohio Mortgage Fraud Task Force, which operates in conjunction with the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission. The task force is led by the Columbus Division of Police Economic Crime Unit and also includes investigators from the Office of Attorney General Cordray, Upper Arlington Police, and the Office of Inspector General for Housing and Urban Development.