Gregory Lashon Thomas, 41, Desoto, Texas, has been convicted of various offenses related to a multimillion dollar mortgage fraud scheme he ran in the Dallas,Texas area.
The two co-defendants, charged in the case, Aja D. Crawford, aka Aja Abercrombie, 35, Irving, Texas, and Ernest Ohenekitiwa McMillan, 42, Dallas, each pleaded guilty last year to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, as charged in a superseding indictment. Each faces a maximum statutory sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Restitution could also be ordered. Both are scheduled to be sentenced on January 11, 2013.
The evidence at trial showed that Thomas ran two real estate “investment” businesses called Investor Source and Myriad Investments. Thomas located sellers who wanted to unload excess properties and were willing to “kick back” substantially all of their proceeds to the defendant. Thomas then recruited straw buyers, including co-defendant McMillan, and worked with loan officers, including co-defendant Crawford, to prepare and submit fraudulent loan applications on the buyers’ behalf.
The loan applications contained numerous material false statements, such as overstating the buyer’s income level or assets. For instance, the evidence showed that one of the straw buyers, who had just been released from federal prison and was living in a halfway house and earning minimum wage, falsely represented on his loan application that he made nearly $100,000 per year and had an account with more than $34,000. That loan application also identified a Washington Mutual bank account that actually belonged to the defendant. Not only was the bank account controlled by the defendant, he and the loan officer altered a bank statement to make it appear as if the account was owned by the straw buyer.
The evidence further showed that Thomas received a substantial kickback from the seller after each of the transactions closed and then disbursed a portion of those kickbacks to the co-defendants and others involved in the fraud. Thomas also assisted the buyers in closing on the properties by obtaining cashier’s checks, in the buyer’s name, for the down payment on the properties.
The properties at issue in the indictment are three upscale town houses located off Ross Avenue in Dallas,Texas, just east of downtown.
Thomas’s kickbacks have resulted in a $200,000 money judgment to be forfeited to the government. The scheme involved approximately $6 million in fraudulently-obtained proceeds and $2 million in estimated losses.
Specifically, the jury convicted Thomas on all four counts of the indictment “” one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and three counts of mail fraud. Each of the counts carries a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Restitution could also be ordered.
The announcement was made by the U.S. Attorney Sarah R. SaldaÃ±a of the Northern District of Texas.
The case was investigated by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorneys J. Nicholas Bunch and Joseph Revesz are in charge of the prosecution.