Real Estate Investor Found Guilty of Mortgage Fraud

Allison Tussey —  August 18, 2010 — 1 Comment

Christopher Alan Stapleton, 41, Clearwater Beach, Florida, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution and three counts of making false statements to a federally-insured financial institution. Stapleton faces a maximum penalty of 95 years in federal prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 29, 2010.

According to the testimony and evidence presented at trial, Stapleton submitted loan applications and other documents containing false and fraudulent information to
various mortgage lenders. Specifically, Stapleton falsely inflated both the contract purchase prices of the real properties that he was buying and his own gross monthly
income in an effort to get the lenders to approve the loans. Relying on Stapleton‘s fraudulent representations, the lenders approved the loans and disbursed loan
proceeds in excess of the true contract purchase prices. Stapleton paid the sellers the contract amounts and, unbeknownst to the lenders, pocketed millions of dollars in excess loan proceeds.

Two other individuals were charged in connection with this case. William Straub, Jr., a former mortgage broker, in Pinellas County, Florida, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution on December 1, 2009. Warren Jay Knaust, an attorney in Pinellas County, who acted as title agent in the charged
transactions, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution on August 6, 2010. Knaust is scheduled to be sentenced on October 29,
2010, and Straub‘s sentencing date has not yet been set.

U.S. Attorney A. Brian Albritton announced the verdict.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Rachelle DesVaux Bedke and Simon Gaugush. This case is a part of the Middle District of Florida’s Mortgage Fraud Initiative, a joint effort by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies throughout the Middle District of Florida. It is a “Phase II” case, brought following the initial wave of Mortgage Fraud Initiative prosecutions, the Mortgage Fraud Surge, which occurred over ten months in 2009 and netted more that 100 defendants. Phase II of the Mortgage Fraud Initiative seeks to build upon the Surge, its leads and techniques, to uncover and prosecute increasingly complex mortgage frauds.

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Allison Tussey

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One response to Real Estate Investor Found Guilty of Mortgage Fraud

  1. So how did the bank lose money again? How did the bank become the victim? The bank borrows money from the Federal Reserve, loans it out and makes a huge profit on money it doesn’t actually have. Then when the market crashes, rather than admit they are committing fraud themselves they divert our attention by claiming that Christopher Stapleton “single-handedly” crashed the entire U.S. Real Estate market, or at least Florida! Even though he only purchased 4 homes. LOL!

    Now, here’s the best part:

    One could argue that the U.S. Government has the right to prosecute Mr. Stapleton based on evidence that he falsely claimed certain levels of income to induce the mortgage loans, right? Wrong, the banks involved in this case are CountryWide (now Bank of America) and Wachovia (now Wells Fargo)(go figure). If the banks felt like they were defrauded why didn’t they hire an attorney? If the banks loaned money they didn’t actually own themselves, how are they the victim? If the Federal Reserve is NOT PART OF the U.S. Government, how (and why) is the U.S. Government paying millions in tax dollars to prosecute cases for the Banks (Federal Reserve).

    Shouldn’t the Federal Reserve do its own bidding? Don’t we already pay enough in taxes without paying corrupt attorneys and judges to make the banks more rich by prosecuting WE THE PEOPLE?

    I’ll end my comment by quoting Thomas Jefferson, who warned us over 200 years ago:

    I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.

    Thomas Jefferson, (Attributed)
    3rd president of US (1743 – 1826)

    If this were colonial times I would say: “let’s storm the boardrooms of the banks, the court rooms and offices of the attorneys, take the scoundrels out to a field and treat them like they’ve committed treason. Because, in my opinion, they have.

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