Search Results For "Patrick Lee"

Mervyn A. Phelan, Sr., 74, Newport Beach, California, and Gregory E. Grantham, 56, Oceanside, California, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, wire fraud and obstruction of justice for their roles in a real estate fraud scheme whereby private money lenders and investors were persuaded to deposit funds into escrow accounts, which were later pillaged by the conspirators.

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Randy Lee Wilkins, 48, Gilroy, California, was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison for carrying out a mortgage fraud scheme in Fresno, California.The defendant and his co-conspirators defrauded lenders by using fraudulent loan applications misrepresenting their income, assets, liabilities and intent to occupy the residences.

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Patrick J. Belzner, a/k/a Patrick McCloskey, 45, Glen Arm, Maryland, pleaded guilty to a wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud and tax evasion. Belzer admitted advising wealthy individuals and investment advisers that in order for the McCloskey Group to obtain loans for real estate projects, the loan broker required large sums of money be deposited in an escrow bank account to show liquidity. However, the investors’ funds were removed soon after being deposited and the stolen funds to pay for their personal and business expenses, as well as to make partial repayments to earlier lenders.

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Jayson Peter Costa, 41, Bakersfield, to 78 months’ imprisonment United States District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill sentenced for his role in an extensive mortgage fraud scheme that ran from January 2004 to September 2007. Costa was ordered to self-surrender by May 5, 2014.

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Carlyle “Carl” Lee Cole, 66, Bakersfield, California, was sentenced by United States District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill to 17 years and seven months in prison and Caleb Lee Cole, 37, Bakersfield, was sentenced to six months in prison for charges stemming from their involvement in an extensive mortgage fraud scheme that ran from January 2004 to September 2007.

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William Doug Mitchell, 50, Fort Worth, Texas, was convicted by a jury after one hour of deliberation for his role in a complex mortgage fraud scheme that targeted homes across North Texas. 

According to the Indictment, beginning in 2004, forty individuals ““ among them, real estate agents, property finders, mortgage brokers and loan officers, title company attorneys, escrow officers, property appraisers, and straw buyers ““ conspired to defraud lending institutions by convincing them to approve mortgage loans for residential properties for which the property values had been fraudulently inflated. 

The Indictment identified 114 residential properties located in cities throughout Texas, including Allen, Arlington, Cedar Hill, Coppell, Corinth, Cypress, Dallas, Flower Mound, Fort Worth, Frisco, Granbury, Heath, Highland Village, Houston, Keller, Lantana, Lewisville, Little Elm, Lubbock, Magnolia, McKinney, Plano, Roanoke, Southlake, Spring, The Woodlands, and Willis.

At trial, prosecutors presented the testimony of over twenty witnesses to establish that Mitchell was a licensed and certified residential property appraiser who inflated the values of residential homes, causing lending institutions to lend hundreds of thousands of dollars more than properties were actually worth.  Mitchell falsified owner information, property information, and used property values that he had previously inflated as comparables on other properties to inflate their values.  Mitchell was convicted on the three counts for which he was charged: specifically, one count of conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud and two counts of mail fraud.

Prior to trial, thirty-nine individuals either pled guilty or were convicted at trial for their part in the mortgage fraud scheme.  Scheme architect John Barry, 42, as well as Allyson Barry, age unknown, each pled guilty for their roles in creating or supporting the scheme. 

Title attorneys Daniel Ayers, 48, and Anthony Flores, 46, and escrow officer Debbie Fernie, 49, each pled guilty for their roles in closing the property transactions. 

Real estate agents Joy Beckner, 56, Sheri Brower, 49, Julie Hanley, 55, Elaine Powers, 63, and Michelle Strickland, 44, each pled guilty for their roles in concealing true property values in the property transactions. 

Loan officers Tim Dreslinski, 38, Jared Gowans, 32, Chris Howard, 43, Patty Peery, 57, Allison Ridgeway, 45, and Liz Smittle, 50, each pled guilty for their roles in falsifying loan applications for submission to lending institutions. 

Appraisers Elizabeth Altizer, 45, Pamela Ford, 49, and Josh Melton, 34, each pled guilty for fraudulently inflating the value of houses in their appraisals. 

Property flippers Frank Field, 52, Rita Hunter, age unknown, Shannon Jensen, 42, and Andrea Tannahill, 42, each pled guilty for serving as the conduit buyer/seller in property transactions that “flipped” immediately. 

Straw buyers William Barry, 66, Christopher Feagan, 34, Debbie Friedman, 65, Patrick Johnson, 38, Travis Jones, 39, Delisa Kearney, 50, Francis Kearney, 49, Barbara Muzeni, 49, David Muzeni, 45, Kathleen Muzeni, 45, Brett Relander, 35, David Sacco, 57, Ellen Summers, 63, and Clarence White, 55, each pled guilty for submitting false loan applications to lending institutions. 

Azza Bassiouny, 44, and Kamilla Kirch, 65, both mortgage brokers, were convicted at trial for their roles in falsifying loan applications.

Mitchell faces up to 20 years in federal prison on each of the charges.  A sentencing date has not been set.

U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced the conviction. 

In assessing the verdict, U.S. Attorney Bales announced that, “The United States has brought to justice forty individuals who were responsible for causing millions of dollars of losses to lending institutions and also ruining whole neighborhoods across north Texas.  Today is a triumph of justice over greed.”

This case was investigated by the FBI and the IRS and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher A. Eason, Richard J, Johnson, and Shamoil T. Shipchandler.

 

Lee Bentley Farkas,  58, Ocala, Florida, the former chairman and owner of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker (TBW), was sentenced to 30 years in prison and ordered to forfeit approximately $38.5 million for his role in a more than $2.9 billion fraud scheme that contributed to the failure of TBW and Colonial Bank. At one time, TBW was one of the largest privately held mortgage lending companies in the United States and Colonial Bank was one of the 25 largest banks in the United States.

Farkas was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema in the Eastern District of Virginia.

As previously reported by Mortgage Fraud Blog, after a 10-day trial, a federal jury found Farkas guilty of 14 counts, including one count of conspiracy to commit bank, wire and securities fraud; six counts of bank fraud; four counts of wire fraud; and three counts of securities fraud. According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Farkas and his co-conspirators engaged in a scheme that misappropriated more than $1.4 billion from Colonial Bank‘s Mortgage Warehouse Lending Division, Orlando, Florida, and approximately $1.5 billion from Ocala Funding, a mortgage lending facility controlled by TBW. Farkas and his co-conspirators misappropriated this money to, among other things, cover TBW‘s operating expenses. The fraud scheme contributed to the failures of Colonial Bank and TBW.

The sentence was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride for the Eastern District of Virginia; Acting Special Inspector General Christy Romero for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP); Assistant Director in Charge James W. McJunkin of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Michael P. Stephens, Deputy Inspector General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD-OIG); Jon T. Rymer, Inspector General of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC-OIG); Steve A. Linick, Inspector General of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA-OIG); and Victor S. O. Song, Chief of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).

The case is being prosecuted by Deputy Chief Patrick Stokes and Trial Attorney Robert Zink of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charles Connolly and Paul Nathanson of the Eastern District of Virginia. This case was investigated by SIGTARP, FBI’s Washington Field Office, FDIC-OIG, HUD-OIG, FHFA-OIG and the IRS-CI. The department recognizes the substantial assistance of the SEC. The department also recognizes the assistance of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the Department of the Treasury.

“During the housing and financial crisis, while many American taxpayers struggled just to keep their heads above water, Farkas lived in the lap of luxury using the more than $38 million that he stole from TBW and Colonial Bank,” said Acting Inspector General Romero of SIGTARP. “Farkas used the stolen money to buy a jet, expensive antique and collector cars including a Rolls Royce, and multiple vacation homes, all while masterminding a fraud of stunning scope. His fraud began to unravel when he tried to obtain TARP funds to fill the billions of dollars of holes at TBW and Colonial Bank. He failed and his fraud was discovered by SIGTARP and its law enforcement partners. Shameless in his duping of investors and regulators, he attempted to deceive taxpayers. The judge’s sentence today makes it clear that Farkas will leave his lavish lifestyle behind and spend his golden years locked up in prison.”

“Through his scheme, Lee Farkas and his co-conspirators victimized innocent people and in the process their actions led to the collapse of two major U.S. financial institutions, no doubt a contributing factor to the nation’s financial downturn,” said Assistant Director McJunkin. “Today’s sentence does not make the victims whole, but it does punish the major architect of these crimes.”

“Lee Farkas was the mastermind behind one of the largest fraud schemes in history involving a mortgage lending company. For more than eight years, Farkas perpetuated his scam to defraud banks, regulators and taxpayers,” said Deputy Inspector General Stephens of the HUD-OIG. “We remain firmly committed to rooting out fraud at all levels of an institution – from the bottom to the very top – and holding those who engage in such destructive activity ultimately accountable to the American people.”

“We are pleased to join our colleagues in announcing the sentencing of Lee Farkas, whose actions contributed to the failure of Colonial Bank, causing a $4.2 billion loss to the FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund,” said Inspector General Rymer of the FDIC-OIG. “We appreciate the collaborative relationships with law enforcement partners that led to the successful outcomes of this case, one of the largest bank fraud prosecutions of our time. We also acknowledge the efforts of our FDIC colleagues, who, acting in their receivership capacity, assisted the prosecution in unraveling the complexities of this fraud. The American public needs to know that those who undermine the integrity of the financial services system will be held accountable. We are committed to helping maintain confidence in the financial system, ensure the safety and soundness of FDIC-insured institutions, and protect the viability of the insurance fund.”

“In the midst of the worst housing finance crisis since the great depression, Lee Farkas led a scheme that defrauded Freddie Mac and, in turn, the American taxpayers who have invested over $63 billion in Freddie Mac to cover its losses,” said Inspector General Linick of the FHFA-OIG. “Today’s sentence makes it clear that mortgage-related fraud will not be tolerated.”

“Lee Farkas’ boundless greed ultimately led not to a life of luxury, but to a prison cell,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “Mr. Farkas orchestrated a fraud of staggering proportions, the effects of which are still being felt by the thousands of former employees of TBW and Colonial Bank, and shareholders of Colonial BancGroup. From a $28 million private jet and vacation homes in Maine and Key West, to expensive antique cars and restaurants, Mr. Farkas plundered his company and Colonial Bank to prop up his failing business and to feed his ostentatious lifestyle. When greed and risky behavior lead individuals to break the law, we will do everything in our power to investigate, prosecute and punish those responsible.”

“Today’s sentence ensures that Lee Farkas will spend the rest of his life in prison and is just punishment for a man who pulled off one the largest bank frauds in history,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Between 2007 and August 2009, as the country faced one of the worst financial crises in recent history – largely sparked by fraudulent mortgage-related transactions – Farkas ramped up his scheme to rip off banks through sales of fake mortgage assets and by double-and triple-selling mortgage loans. By causing the failure of Colonial Bank and TBW, two significant players in the mortgage market, Farkas’s scheme affected those at the heart of the financial crisis, including major financial institutions, government agencies, taxpayers, and employees and investors.”

This prosecution was brought in coordination with 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. For more information about the task force visit: www.StopFraud.gov.

Paul Allen, 55, Oakton, Virginia, the former chief executive officer (CEO) of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker (TBW) was sentenced to 40 months in prison for his role in a more than $2.9 billion fraud scheme that contributed to the failure of TBW. At one time, TBW was one of the largest privately held mortgage lending companies in the United States. Allen was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema in the Eastern District of Virginia. Sean Ragland, 37, San Antonio, a former senior financial analyst at TBW who reported to Allen, was also sentenced by Judge Brinkema to three months in prison. 

As previously reported by Mortgage Fraud Blog, Allen pleaded guilty in April 2011 to one count of making false statements and one count of conspiring to commit bank and wire fraud. Co-conspirator  Ragland pleaded guilty in March 2011 to one count of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud. Allen and Ragland both admitted to conspiring with Lee Bentley Farkas, the former chairman of TBW, and others, to defraud financial institutions that had invested in Ocala Funding LLC, a facility wholly-owned by TBW.

The sentences were announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride for the Eastern District of Virginia; Acting Special Inspector General Christy Romero for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP); Assistant Director in Charge James W. McJunkin of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Michael P. Stephens, Deputy Inspector General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD-OIG); Jon T. Rymer, Inspector General of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC-OIG); Steve A. Linick, Inspector General of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA-OIG); and Victor S. O. Song, Chief of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).

“As TBW’s chief executive officer, Mr. Allen served as an accomplice to Lee Farkas and his massive fraud scheme,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “He concealed TBW’s staggering deficits through false financial reports, which ultimately caused investors to lose more than $1.5 billion. Today’s sentence sends a strong message that corporate fraud by senior executives will not be tolerated. At the same time, it demonstrates that substantial assistance in the government’s investigation and prosecution of corporate fraud will be taken into account at sentencing.”

 

“Paul Allen was a well-respected mortgage executive hired by Lee Farkas to be TBW’s chief executive officer. Working from Oakton, Va., Mr. Allen led Ocala Funding, a TBW multi-billion dollar lending facility that was used to defraud investors of more than $1 billion,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Mr. Allen’s sentence reflects his ultimate cooperation with this investigation, but also sends the message that unless executives expose and stop fraud when they first learn of it, they will be punished.”

“Instead of upholding his position of power and trust as CEO of TBW, Paul Allen chose the path of fraud and deception in helping facilitate the long-running fraud carried out by TBW and Colonial Bank. Fortunately, the scheme came to a halt when an attempt was made to steal more than a half billion dollars from the TARP,” said Acting Special Inspector General for the TARP Romero. “Today’s sentence appropriately recognizes the severity of Allen’s participation in the fraud along with his cooperation in the Government’s investigation.”

“As a result of this complex fraud scheme, these defendants cost investors and our financial markets billions of dollars,” said Assistant Director in Charge McJunkin. “Today’s sentence shows that those who take advantage of investors and our banking and mortgage systems will be held accountable. The FBI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners and remain vigilant in investigating these illegal transactions.”

“Today’s sentencing marks the culmination of a large effort on the part of this agency and of the law enforcement and regulatory community,” said Deputy Inspector General Stephens of HUD-OIG. “More importantly, however, it shows our nation that is slowly recovering from a damaged housing market that we are committed to bringing to justice those whose pernicious behavior contributed to this condition.”

“The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Office of Inspector General is pleased to join our law enforcement colleagues in announcing this sentencing,” said Inspector General Rymer of FDIC. “We are particularly concerned in cases like this one where fraudulent activities involving employees of Colonial Bank in association with officials of Taylor, Bean and Whitaker contributed to the failure of Colonial Bank, resulting in a $3.8 billion loss to the Deposit Insurance Fund. We are committed to continuing our investigations of such criminal misconduct to help ensure the integrity of the financial services industry and maintain the safety and soundness of the nation’s financial institutions and the viability of the fund.”

“Paul Allen used his extensive experience gained from employment with the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) to assist Lee Farkas in his massive fraud scheme,” said Inspector General Linick of FHFA-OIG. “This sentence sends a strong message to individuals who would try to defraud Freddie Mac and American taxpayers, who have invested over $163 billion in the GSEs to date.”

The case is being prosecuted by Deputy Chief Patrick Stokes and Trial Attorney Robert Zink of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charles Connolly and Paul Nathanson of the Eastern District of Virginia. This case was investigated by SIGTARP, FBI’s Washington Field Office, FDIC-OIG, HUD-OIG, FHFA-OIG and the IRS-CI. The department recognizes the substantial assistance of the SEC. The department also recognizes the assistance of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the Department of the Treasury.

This prosecution was brought in coordination with 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. For more information about the task force visit: www.StopFraud.gov.

 

Catherine Kissick, 50, Orlando, Florida, a former senior vice president and head of Colonial Bank‘s Mortgage Warehouse Lending Division was sentenced to eight years in prison for her role in a more than $2.9 billion fraud scheme that contributed to the failures of Colonial Bank and Taylor, Bean & Whitaker (TBW). Colonial Bank was one of the 25 largest banks in the United States and TBW was one of the largest privately-held mortgage lending companies in the United States in 2009.

As previously reported by Mortgage Fraud Blog, Kissick pleaded guilty in March 2011 to one count of conspiracy to commit bank, wire and securities fraud. Co-conspirator Teresa Kelly, 35, Ocoee, Florida, a former operations supervisor at Colonial Bank who reported to Kissick, was also sentenced by Judge Brinkema to three months in prison. Kelly pleaded guilty in March 2011 to one count of conspiracy to commit bank, wire and securities fraud. Kissick and Kelly both admitted to conspiring with Lee Bentley Farkas, the former chairman of TBW, and others, to fraudulently obtain funding for TBW to cover expenses related to operations and servicing payments owed to third-party purchasers of loans and/or mortgage-backed securities.

Kissick was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema in the Eastern District of Virginia.

The sentence was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride for the Eastern District of Virginia; Acting Special Inspector General Christy Romero for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP); Assistant Director in Charge James W. McJunkin of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Michael P. Stephens, Deputy Inspector General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD-OIG); Jon T. Rymer, Inspector General of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC-OIG); Steve A. Linick, Inspector General of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA-OIG); and Victor S. O. Song, Chief of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).

“As a senior bank official of Colonial Bank, Catherine Kissick had a fiduciary duty to speak up and report fraud but instead played an active role in perpetrating and concealing this large-scale fraud, including attempting to deceive the federal government and steal over $550 million from TARP,” said Acting Special Inspector General for the TARP Romero. “SIGTARP and its partners in the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force skillfully discovered the fraud and prevented the loss of significant taxpayer funds. SIGTARP will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute persons who commit fraud or attempt to do so in connection with any program implemented under TARP, regardless of whether such person receives TARP funds.”

“This was a complex investigation that required careful efforts of investigators, forensic accountants and analysts poring through thousands of pages of complicated mortgage and lending documents,” said Assistant Director in Charge McJunkin. “Today’s result is a testament to the hard work and close cooperation of our law enforcement partners. Together we are committed to ensuring the integrity of our banking and mortgage systems.”

“We will continue to work side-by-side with our partners to protect the American dream and the American taxpayers and ensure that criminals who try to enrich themselves through fraud schemes are brought to justice,” said Deputy Inspector General Stephens of HUD.

“The FDIC Office of Inspector General is pleased to join our law enforcement colleagues in defending the integrity of the financial services industry,” said FDIC Inspector General Rymer. “We are particularly concerned in cases like this one where fraudulent activities involving employees of Colonial Bank and officials of Taylor Bean and Whitaker contributed to the failure of Colonial Bank, resulting in a $3.8 billion loss to the Deposit Insurance Fund. We are committed to continuing our investigations of such criminal misconduct to help maintain the safety and soundness of the nation’s financial institutions and the viability of the fund.”

“This sentence sends a strong message to individuals who would try to defraud Freddie Mac and American taxpayers, who have invested $64.2 billion in Freddie Mac to date,” said Inspector General Linick of the FHFA-OIG. “FHFA-OIG looks forward to future cooperative efforts with law enforcement partners to combat fraud against FHFA, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and the Federal Home Loan Banks.”

“As a senior executive at Colonial Bank, Catherine Kissick helped execute one of the largest bank frauds in history,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “For years, she used her position within the bank to buy hundreds of millions of dollars in worthless assets from TBW, deceiving shareholders, investors and regulators. If she had refused to participate in the fraud, Lee Farkas’ scheme could have been stopped dead in its tracks. Ms. Kissick ultimately cooperated with the government, and that assistance is reflected in today’s sentence. But she, like her co-conspirators, will pay for her crimes with substantial time in prison.”

“Lee Farkas pulled off one of history’s largest bank frauds because he had people inside Colonial Bank with the power to do it and hide it,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Without help from Catherine Kissick-a high-level executive at one of the nation’s top regional banks-the fraud scheme might have been discovered in its infancy. Her conviction and sentence should be a cautionary tale to other financial executives who may be tempted to bend the rules for favored clients.”

The case is being prosecuted by Deputy Chief Patrick Stokes and Trial Attorney Robert Zink of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charles Connolly and Paul NThe case is being prosecuted by Deputy Chief Patrick Stokes and Trial Attorney Robert Zink of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charles Connolly and Paul Nathanson of the Eastern District of Virginia. This case was investigated by SIGTARP, FBI’s Washington Field Office, FDIC-OIG, HUD-OIG, FHFA-OIG and the IRS-CI. The department recognizes the substantial assistance of the SEC. The department also recognizes the assistance of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the Department of the Treasury.

This prosecution was brought in coordination with 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. For more information about the task force visit: www.stopfraud.gov.

 

Desiree Brown, 45, Hernando, Florida, the former treasurer and the former president of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker (TBW) were sentenced today to 72 months in prison and 30 months in prison, respectively, for their roles in a more than $2.9 billion fraud scheme that contributed to the failures of TBW and Colonial Bank. TBW was one of the largest privately-held mortgage lending companies in the United States in 2009.

Brown and Raymond Bowman, the former president of TBW, were each sentenced by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Brown pleaded guilty in February 2011 to one count of conspiracy to commit bank, wire and securities fraud. Bowman, 45, Braselton, Georgia, pleaded guilty in March 2011 to one count of conspiracy to commit bank, wire and securities fraud and one count of making false statements to federal agents. Both admitted to conspiring with Lee Bentley Farkas, the former chairman of TBW, and others, to fraudulently obtain funding for TBW to cover expenses related to operations and servicing payments owed to third-party purchasers of loans and/or mortgage-backed securities.

Farkas was convicted on April 19, 2011, on 14 counts of fraud for his role in masterminding the scheme, which was one of the largest bank frauds in the country. Farkas is scheduled to be sentenced on June 27, 2011. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has a civil action pending against Farkas in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Co-conspirators Paul Allen, the former chief executive officer of TBW; Catherine Kissick, a former senior vice president of Colonial Bank and head of its Mortgage Warehouse Lending Division (MWLD); Teresa Kelly, a former operations supervisor for Colonial Bank‘s MWLD; and Sean Ragland, a former senior financial analyst at TBW, have also pleaded guilty for their participation in the scheme.

According to court documents and information presented at trial, Bowman and Brown participated in the scheme from 2003 through August 2009. The fraud scheme caused Colonial Bank and Colonial BancGroup to purchase tens of millions of dollars of worthless assets, caused Colonial BancGroup to report false information in its financial statements, and artificially inflated the value of TBW‘s mortgage servicing rights.

According to court documents and information presented at trial, TBW began running overdrafts in its master bank account at Colonial Bank because of TBW‘s inability to meet its operating expenses, which included payroll, servicing payments owed to third-party purchasers of loans and/or mortgage-backed securities and other obligations. In or about 2002, Farkas, Bowman and other co-conspirators, engaged in a series of fraudulent actions to cover up the overdrafts, first by sweeping overnight money from one TBW account with excess funds into another, and later through the fictitious “sales” of mortgage loans to Colonial Bank, a fraud scheme the conspirators dubbed “Plan B.” Brown joined the conspiracy in late 2003 shortly after Plan B commenced. The conspirators accomplished Plan B by selling Colonial Bank mortgage loans that did not exist or that TBW had already committed or sold to other third-party investors.

As Plan B evolved, co-conspirators at TBW also caused TBW to engage in sham sales of groups of mortgage loans, known as “pools,” to Colonial Bank that other entities already owned. As a result, false information was entered on Colonial Bank‘s books and records, giving the appearance that the bank owned interests in legitimate pools of mortgage loans, when in fact the pools had no value and could not be securitized or sold. Additionally, the conspirators, including Brown, caused TBW to misappropriate more than $1.5 billion in collateral from Ocala Funding LLC, a mortgage lending facility owned by TBW. The misappropriation caused Colonial Bank and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) to falsely believe that they each had an undivided ownership interest in thousands of the same loans worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

According to court documents, the fraud scheme also included an effort by certain conspirators in the fall of 2008 to obtain $570 million in taxpayer funding through the Capital Purchase Program (CPP), a sub-program of the U.S. Treasury Department’s TARP. In connection with the application, Colonial BancGroup submitted financial data and filings that included materially false information related to mortgage loan and securities assets held by Colonial Bank as a result of the fraudulent activity at TBW. Colonial BancGroup never received the TARP funding.

In August 2009, the Alabama State Banking Department, Colonial Bank‘s regulator, seized the bank and appointed the FDIC as receiver. Colonial BancGroup also filed for bankruptcy in August 2009.

The sentences were announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride for the Eastern District of Virginia; Acting Special Inspector General Christy Romero for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP); Assistant Director in Charge James W. McJunkin of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Michael P. Stephens, Acting Inspector General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD-OIG); Jon T. Rymer, Inspector General of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC-OIG); Steve A. Linick, Inspector General of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA-OIG); and Victor S. O. Song, Chief of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).

Raymond Bowman and Desiree Brown used their positions as high-level executives at TBW to help Lee Farkas perpetrate a sprawling $2.9 billion fraud,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “Their crimes contributed to the failure of Colonial Bank and the collapse of TBW, harming hundreds of shareholders, investors and employees. The prison sentences reflect the seriousness of their conduct, while also recognizing the substantial assistance they ultimately provided to the government in investigating and prosecuting Mr. Farkas and other co-conspirators.”

“These TBW executives helped pull off one of the largest, longest-running bank fraud schemes in history that led to the collapse of Colonial Bank and TBW,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “They knew that without their fraud scheme, TBW would fail. They helped Lee Farkas do what they knew was wrong, and now they will pay for their crimes. At the same time, these defendants agreed to cooperate with the government and that cooperation was clearly taken into account in the sentences imposed today.”

The case is being prosecuted by Deputy Chief Patrick Stokes and Trial Attorney Robert Zink of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charles Connolly and Paul Nathanson of the Eastern District of Virginia. This case was investigated by SIGTARP, FBI’s Washington Field Office, FDIC-OIG, HUD-OIG, FHFA-OIG and the IRS-CI. The department recognizes the substantial assistance of the SEC. The department also recognizes the assistance of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the Department of the Treasury.

This prosecution was brought in coordination with 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. For more information about the task force visit: www.stopfraud.gov.