Joseph Bowen Brown, Jason Thomas Williams, Benjamin Marcette Jackson, Kendall Price Schmitz and Matthew Brennan Chambers, all residents of Phoenix, Arizona, have been indicted on charges ranging from Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, Wire Fraud, Money Laundering and Aiding and Abetting.
According to the Indictment, Joseph Brown and Jason Williams were employed as real estate agents, and formed the Solid Group in 2006. Benjamin Jackson, Kendall Schmitz and Matthew Chambers were all employed as Loan Officers, with Paradise Capital, Home Run Loans and City Mortgage respectively.
The Indictment states the five individuals conspired to locate properties find straw buyers to purchase one or more of the properties and enable the straw buyers to qualify for loan amounts by falsifying financial or employment information and receive compensation for assisting with the acquisition and sale of the properties.
It is alleged that Brown and Williams found multiple properties for investors to purchase. The Indictment states these properties were often represented to the lenders to be owner occupied and not investment properties, and that these two individuals recruited straw buyers to purchase one or more investment properties that were overvalued by specific appraisers and loan officers that Brown and Williams would use to value the properties. Brown and Williams are alleged to have directed straw buyers to Schmitz and Chambers, who allegedly determined how much income was required to qualify the buyer for the loan and then sent loan applications for each property to different lenders, so that no single lender was aware that the buyer was in the process of purchasing another home. The indictment also states, Brown and Williams facilitated the payment of a kick back to the straw buyer.
The Indictment states that at least 36 property transactions were involved in the scheme, the majority in Gilbert, Arizona and that the proceeds or commissions earned by the individuals involved in the scheme approximated $ 2,452,129.00.
Each conviction for Wire Fraud or Conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, a $1 million fine or both. Each conviction for Money Laundering or Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a fine or both.
The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. The prosecution is being handled by Kevin Rapp, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.