Matt Garner, appraiser, Lexington, Kentucky, was indicted and charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and false statement in a matter within the jurisdiction of an agency of the United States based on allegations that he used unlicensed surrogates to conduct residential real property appraisals under his name and license.
According to the indictment, in 2015, Garner began an illegal and deceptive practice of using uncertified and unlicensed surrogates, including two individuals identified in the indictment as GD and ZG, to perform appraisals and fill out Uniform Residential Appraisal Reports without attributing the reports to those individuals or identifying their involvement. In most instances, Garner never visited the property. He paid the surrogates a portion of his appraisal fee.
The indictment further alleges that Garner instructed his surrogates to pretend to be him if questioned by anyone during the appraisal process and he provided them with his own business cards to provide to others, if necessary.
By doing this, Garner was able to greatly increase the number of appraisals he could perform in a given time.
According to the indictment, Garner made the following material statements by signing and submitting the appraisal reports performed by surrogates:
- That he had personally performed the appraisal;
- That he had not been assisted by any other person in performing the appraisal;
- That he was knowledgeable of and experienced in the market where the property was located.
*CORRECTION: This article originally stated that Garner was charged with bank fraud. He was actually charged with violation of 18 USC 371 – conspiracy and the underlying substantive offenses are identified as wire fraud in violation of 18 USC 1343 and false statements in a matter within the jurisdiction of an agency of the United States in violation of 18 USC 1001.