Vicki Dillard Crowe, aka Vicki R. Dillard, 31, Denver, Colorado, was indicted by a federal grand jury on April 5, 2010, on charges of mortgage fraud. Crowe was arrested earlier without incident by FBI agents and U.S. Postal Inspectors. She will appear in U.S. District Court in Denver, Colorado, for her initial appearance, where she will be advised of the charges pending against her.
According to the indictment, beginning in June 2004, and continuing through December 2006, Crowe knowingly devised and intended to devise a scheme to defraud various financial institutions and commercial lenders and to obtain money and property from various financial institutions and commercial lenders by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises. The scheme was executed in connection with the residential mortgage loans related to 19 properties in Colorado – seven in Denver, six in Aurora, two in Centennial, and one each in Thornton, Castle Rock, Franktown and Parker, Colorado. In addition, the defendant executed the scheme related to the refinancing of residential mortgage loans related to two properties-one in Denver and one in Aurora.
As part of the scheme, Crowe worked with at least one mortgage broker to obtain mortgage loans in order to purchase at least 19 residential properties, at least two of which were purchased in the name of Crowe‘s husband because Crowe was concerned that she would not qualify for the required mortgage loans. In order to qualify, Crowe made and caused to be made at least one materially false representation, including: 1) inflating or fabricating employment or rental income and/or assets of the defendant or her husband; 2) falsely representing defendant Crowe‘s job title; 3) failing to disclose all the properties she had recently purchased; 4) failing to disclose all of her financial liabilities; and 5) falsely stating that the property would be a primary residence for the borrower.
As part of the transactions, Crowe persuaded, and caused someone else to persuade, the property seller to falsely inflate the sale price of the property so that Crowe could receive the inflated portion of the sale price as “up front” money, or shortly after, the closing purchase transaction. Sometimes the “up front” money was falsely characterized on a HUD settlement statement as a payment to the broker, although the broker would then pay Crowe the money. At other times, the “up front” money was falsely characterized as a payment to a remodeling company that was supposed to perform specified remodeling work, although the work was never performed, and Crowe actually received the money that was issued to these remodeling companies.
The indictment further alleges that Crowe used much of the “up front” money to make the mortgage payments on the numerous properties that she had purchased. She also refinanced mortgages on a couple of the properties so that she could obtain additional money as a result of the refinance transaction.
In order to qualify for the refinancing of the mortgages, Crowe made at least one materially false statement, namely that she used some of the money that she obtained during the refinance transactions to make the mortgage payments.
Crowe faces eight counts of mail fraud, which carries a penalty of not more than 20 years’ imprisonment, and up to a $250,000 fine, per count. She also faces eight counts of wire fraud, which also carries a penalty of not more than 20 years’ imprisonment, and up to a $250,000 fine, per count. The indictment also includes an asset forfeiture allegation.
United States Attorney David Gaouette, FBI Special Agent in Charge in Denver James Davis, and U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge in Denver Shawn Tiller announced the indictment.
“The prosecution of those who commit mortgage fraud is a top priority of the Department of Justice and this U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said U.S. Attorney David Gaouette. “Those who commit such crimes seriously erode the confidence of financial institutions to lend money which is a key element of the future strength of our economy.”
“Combating mortgage fraud continues to be a priority for the Denver Division of the FBI because of its impact on the well being of our housing markets and national economy,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge James H. Davis. “Law enforcement and the community at large must maintain their vigilance in identifying those who commit these types of fraud.”
“When the mails are used to misrepresent or to send fraudulent information, it is a violation of Federal Law,” said U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge in Denver Shawn Tiller. “United States Postal Inspectors take this offense seriously and investigation of this crime reveals another successful effort to remove criminals involved in this type of activity from society. The Denver office was pleased to partner with our associates in the FBI to bring this investigation to a successful outcome.”
This case was investigated jointly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS).
Crowe is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Pegeen D. Rhyne. The asset forfeiture is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tonya Andrews.
The charges contained in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Mortgage fraud is a major part of President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.