Former Owner of Genesis Mansions Charged with Straw Buyer Scam

Allison Tussey —  June 23, 2014 — Leave a comment

Susanne Helbig, 49, formerly of Roanoke, Virginia, currently residing in Georgia, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on a variety of fraud charges associated with an alleged mortgage fraud scheme involving straw buyers centered around properties on Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia.

The Federal Grand Jury sitting in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Roanoke charged the former majority owner of Genesis Mansions with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, seven counts of bank fraud, six counts of making false statements in connection with a loan and one count of making a false statement on a tax return.

According to the indictment, between March 2006 and December 2007, Helbig, and others, conspired to defraud financial institutions through the submission of false and fraudulent mortgage loan applications and settlement statements in the name of straw buyers, inducing the financial institutions to finance the purchase and construction of approximately 30 properties located near Smith Mountain Lake. These actions caused losses of approximately $11 million.

It is alleged that Helbig, and others, who were supposed to use the proceeds of the loans for the construction of residential properties, instead kept this money as “profits” or used the money to pay other debts. In order to further the scheme, Helbig, and others, allegedly failed to disclose to lending institutions the true sales price of the properties, misrepresented the straw buyer’s income or assets, misrepresented the straw buyer’s employment, misrepresented that the home would be the straw buyer’s primary residence
when in fact the straw buyer had no intention of living there, misrepresented the true source of “gift funds” provided to the straw buyer for closing and/or provided false or forged documents.

If convicted, Helbig faces a maximum possible penalty of up to 30 years in prison and/or a fine ofup to $1 million for the conspiracy count and each of the bank fraud and false statements in connection with a loan counts. On the making a false statement on a tax return count, the defendant faces a maximum possible penalty of up to three years in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000.

The investigation of the case was conducted by Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations and the United States Postal Inspection Service. Assistant United States Attorney Laura Day Rottenborn will prosecute the case for the United States.


Allison Tussey

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