Mark Manners, Robert L. Loeb, and Andrew Siebert, three Dallas, Texas businessmen, who were involved in a massive mortgage fraud scheme that they ran in the area, were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn.
Mark Manners was sentenced to 30 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $1,762,362.71 in restitution.
Robert L. Loeb was sentenced to 18 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $2,027,841,34 restitution.
Andrew Siebert was sentenced to 60 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $2,027,841.34 restitution.
Their co-defendant in the scheme, Charles Cooper Burgess, 53, was sentenced in March 2008 to nearly 22 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $3 million in restitution for his role in this mortgage fraud scheme and another scheme involving golf course property in Arkansas. Burgess pled guilty in January 2006 to his involvement in two fraudulent schemes, one involving mortgage fraud and one involving defrauding individuals who invested in golf course property in Arkansas. In November and December 2006, Burgess testified about Manners and Siebert’s extensive role in the mortgage fraud scheme. At the conclusion of that trial, both Manners and Siebert were convicted.
Regarding the mortgage fraud scheme, Burgess admitted that he recruited 20 straw buyers with good credit but limited funds to sign loan and closing documents to purchase homes. As part of a signed “investor management agreement,” Burgess promised to provide the down payment at closing as well as make all mortgage payments. When Burgess’s company needed additional funds for borrower down payments, Siebert agreed to steal bank escrow funds for the borrowers’ down payment. As part of the scheme, Siebert also falsified settlement document on at least 20 loan closings. Siebert only agreed to steal these escrow funds if Burgess agreed to pay Siebert $5000 from each closing as a “kickback payment.” Evidence at trial showed that Siebert stole escrow funds on 20 separate loans and then concealed the theft of these lender funds by falsifying loan closing documents.
Siebert stole lender funds held in escrow and then provided these funds to Manners prior to closing so that Manners could purchase a cashier’s check in the name of the straw buyer. When Siebert received the cashier’s check back from Manners, Siebert falsely certified to the lender on the settlement statement that the down payment came from the borrower. On the settlement statement, Siebert also fraudulently accounted for disbursements to Burgess’ company by falsely listing the expense as a phony lien pay off, or as a “marketing and relocation fee” due to Burgess’ company. Eleven different lenders testified at trial that Siebert falsified the settlement statements to conceal his wrongful and fraudulent release of lender escrow funds. Each lender testified that the loan would never have been funded if the lender had known about the fraudulent use of lender escrow funds.
From December 2002 through March 2004, Siebert stole escrow funds which resulted in the loss of $2,027,841 to 16 different lenders. As a result of Siebert submitting false certifications on settlement statements for each of these 20 loans, Siebert and Manners fraudulently induced the disbursement of loans totaling more than $7 million.
James T. Jacks, acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, praised the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General. The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney William M. Martin of the U.S. Department of Justice Anti-Trust Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Jarvis.