Archives For Indiana

Daniel R. Fruits, 46, Greenwood, Indiana, was charged today by a federal grand jury for his alleged role in three separate fraud schemes, including attempted mortgage fraud , a nearly $14 million fraud on an investor, and a vehicle title-washing scheme.

The Indictment alleges Fruits attempted to perpetrate a mortgage fraud scheme on Fifth Third Bank. Specifically, in late 2018, Fruits made false statements to Fifth Third Bank to secure a $432,000 mortgage. He twice submitted falsified paperwork purporting to show that loans from another bank had been paid off, when they had not been.

The Indictment also alleges that Fruits defrauded a Kentucky investor, who was also Fruits employer, out of nearly $14 million. In 2015, the investor founded a trucking company, Secure Transit, and hired Fruits to run it. Over the next four-and-a-half years, the investor would invest approximately $14 million in the business.

Fruits repeatedly lied about the company’s financial health, who its customers were, and what the money invested was being used for. On multiple occasions, Fruits allegedly sent the investor fictitious customer sales contracts and falsified financial statements that reported inflated company profits. At the same time, Fruits allegedly asked the investor for additional investments, sometimes in the millions of dollars, purportedly for the purchase of trucks or other business expenses.

Fruits spent a significant portion of the money on his own personal purchases and payments. He allegedly spent approximately $880,000 to purchase a horse farm and his personal residence, $560,000 on an RV and trailer, over $111,000 on a Corvette, approximately $90,000 on three Rolex watches, approximately $55,000 on a horse, $33,000 on a horse trailer, $23,000 on payments for two Ferraris, and $30,000 on payments for two escorts.

Finally, Fruits perpetrated a title-washing scheme to remove a bank’s lien from the title of a truck he purchased. He financed the truck with a loan from Ally Financial for over $69,000.  Several months later, he sent the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles a falsified letter purportedly from Ally Financial stating that the loan had been paid off and the lien should be released.

The loan had not been paid off and Ally Financial never wrote that letter. As a result, the BMV issued Fruits a free-and-clear title for the truck, which Fruits then sold for $48,000, without repaying the loan to Ally Financial.

Acting United States Attorney John E. Childress made the announcement.

This financial investor gave his hard-earned money to someone whom he thought he could trust,” said Childress. “Instead, the victim’s money ended up in the hands of a self-absorbed thief who only cared about his interests. Living a life of fraud is inexcusable and always comes to an end.

This case was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.

This indictment sends a strong message that the FBI will aggressively investigate those who commit such extensive financial fraud and steal from their employer to pad their own pockets to fund a lavish lifestyle,” said FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan. “The FBI and our law enforcement partners will always pursue those who take advantage of others through illegal and criminal behavior.

The IRS enforces the nation’s tax laws, but also takes particular interest in cases where someone, for their own personal benefit and greed, has taken what belongs to others,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Tamera Cantu, of IRS Criminal Investigation, Chicago Field Office. “With our agent’s financial investigation expertise, we followed the money and helped to unravel the fraud and deceit conducted by Mr. Fruits. We are pleased with the successful resolution of this investigation due to the cooperative efforts of our law enforcement partner and the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of Indiana.”

An indictment is a set of allegations and is not itself evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

In November of 2020, Acting United States Attorney John E. Childress renewed a Strategic Plan designed to shape and strengthen the District’s response to its most significant public safety challenges. This prosecution demonstrates the Office’s firm commitment to prosecuting complex, long-running fraud schemes. (See United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana Strategic Plan 5.1)

 

Walter Woldt, 55, Crown Point, Indiana, was sentenced on his plea of guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

According to documents in this case, in 2006 and 2007 Woldt worked with Al Rodenburg, a mortgage broker based in Texas, to purchase 14 residential properties in Northwest Indiana in the span of 30 days with no money down. Defendants Rodenburg and Woldt worked out an arrangement where Woldt obtained mortgages that Rodenburg found for him on multiple properties beginning on January 3, 2007. They continued the process of closing on multiple properties roughly twice a week up through February 1, 2007. They knew that by closing on the properties so quickly mortgages Woldt obtained in early January 2007 would not hit his credit report for at least 30 days thereby depriving subsequent lenders, including lenders who purchased these mortgages in the secondary market, of material information they would want and need to know about Woldt’s debts for purposes of evaluating credit worthiness. Defendant Rodenburg did this for the commission he received on the mortgages Woldt obtained.  Defendant Rodenberg was sentenced on February 22, 2018 to a 14 month prison term, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1, 004,991 in restitution.

Woldt was sentenced to 14 months in prison followed by 24 months of home detention and ordered to pay $1,004,991 in restitution. He was ordered to report to the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) on August 3, 2018.

The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch II.

This case was investigated by the FDIC-Office of Inspector General and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Diane Berkowitz.

Sergio Garcia, Sr., 46, Chicago, Illinois and Sergio Garcia, Jr., 27, Lowell, Indiana were indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and ten substantive counts of mail fraud.  The indictment also charges Timothy D. Greene, 29, Lansing,Illinois with submitting fraudulent information to HUD. All three were charged in connection with their part in a house flipping scheme involving HUD properties.

The indictment alleges that between January 1, 2011 and May 31, 2014,  Sergio Garcia, Sr. and Sergio Garcia, Jr. conspired with others known and unknown to the Grand Jury to engage in a scheme to defraud and to obtain money by means of false pretenses, representations and promises.

The alleged scheme involved offering to buy more than 40 HUD homes situated in the following cities or towns in Indiana:  Gary, Hammond, Merrillville, Whiting, East Chicago, Hobart, St. John, Valparaiso, and Lake Village; as well as the following cities or towns in Illinois:  Cicero, Chicago, Maywood, Alsip, Stone Park, Riverdale, Chicago Heights, Berwyn, Lansing, Stickney, and Evergreen Park.  The conspirators sought to purchase the homes from HUD and sell them the same day or soon thereafter for a profit to subsequent buyers.

The purchase contracts provided to HUD to purchase the properties stated that the conspirators or one of their businesses were purchasing the properties as investors and would pay with cash or use other financing not involving FHA.  To support their claimed financial ability to pay for the homes, the conspirators mailed fraudulent letters purporting to show that they or their company had access to the funds needed to complete each purchase.  Many of the letters purported to be written by a private venture capital business and falsely stated that a conspirator or their business held a line of credit of up to $500,000.00, when in fact, as the conspirators well knew: these letters were altered, forged and counterfeited; the lines of credit referenced therein did not exist; and the signatures thereon were forged and unauthorized.

The alleged scheme further involved the conspirators placing their own “for sale” signs at the HUD homes before their purchase from HUD had occurred.

When the conspirators could not find a subsequent purchaser to buy the homes, they allowed their purchase contracts with HUD to expire.  The conspirators filed false liens on many of the HUD homes after their purchase contracts expired.  The false liens hindered HUD from selling the homes to subsequent purchasers.  The conspirators requested money from subsequent purchasers to release the false liens.

The indictment also alleges that on or about February 13, 2012, Timothy Daniel Greene provided a fraudulent letter to HUD stating he held an approved line of credit with a venture capital business and that he did so for the purpose of influencing HUD to approve a purchase offer he had submitted for a property in Chicago, IL.

The indictment was announced by United States Attorney David A. Capp.  The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jill R. Koster.

Minas Litos, 50, Saint John, Indiana; Adrian Tartareanu, 45, Saint John, Indiana; and Daniela Tartareanu, 44, Saint John, Indiana; were sentenced in federal court by Chief Judge Philip Simon  for conspiracy and wire fraud.

Litos entered a plea of guilty to one count of conspiracy and sixteen counts of wire fraud and was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.  The Court will determine whether restitution should be imposed at a later date.

Adrian and Daniela Tartareanu were found guilty by a jury of one count of conspiracy and sixteen counts of wire fraud.  Adrian Tartareanu was sentenced to 36 months imprisonment.  His wife  Daniela Tartareanu was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment.

Minas Litos and Adrian Tartareanu owned Red Brick Investment Properties.  Daniela Tartareanu was the office manager.  They participated in an illegal scheme in which they convinced others to buy homes in Gary, Indiana.  To induce the individuals, the defendants told prospective buyers that they were not required to provide down payment funds, and that the rental income would cover the costs associated with owning rental property.  They concealed from the lenders and title companies that they paid the down payment money on behalf of the buyers.  They also paid kickbacks to the buyers.  The scheme lasted two years and involved 45 fraudulent transactions.    As a result, more than $2.5 million dollars was fraudulently obtained from the lenders with almost all the buyers subsequently defaulting on the loans.  Many of the properties are now vacant or considered a total loss by the lenders.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, David Capp, and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The case was handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Gary T. Bell and Jill Koster.

Brian Kandefer, 37, San Diego, California, was sentenced to 121 months imprisonment and ordered to pay $1.4 million dollars in restitution after his guilty plea to wire fraud and money laundering.

According to documents in the case, K2 Capital Management Inc. did business as US Mortgage Bailout and USMortgageBailout.com with physical offices located in La Jolla, California.  Brian Kandefer was a 50% owner of K2 Capital Management Inc. dba US Mortgage Bailout and dba USMortgageBailout.com.  Continue Reading…

Hrong Arman Gasparian, 67, Fishers, Indiana, was convicted of 10 counts of wire fraud after a three-day jury trial before U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker.  He was convicted for his involvement in two fraudulent schemes that swindled prospective borrowers of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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Eloise Blackmon, Gary, Indiana, was sentenced to 10 months in prison for her role in a mortgage fraud scheme. Upon release, Blackmon was also sentenced to supervised release for a period of two years. The scheme involved the purchase and sale of up to 25 properties. The defendant and her co-conspirators submitted false and fraudulent documents to lenders in order to qualify the borrowers for loans.

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Jeffrey Youngheim, 47, Portage, Indiana, and Richard Loveless, 52, Gary, Indiana, were sentenced by District Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen for their roles in a large-scale mortgage fraud scheme.

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John Carlisle, 49, New Haven, Indiana, pled guilty before Magistrate Judge Christopher A. Nuechterlein to the felony offense of making false statements and reports regarding mortgage loans and aiding and abetting in such conduct.

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Brian Edwards, 50, Fort Wayne, Indiana was sentenced by District Judge Jon E. DeGuilio to 21 months imprisonment, 2 years supervised release and of $400,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to the felony offense of making false statement in connection with a mortgage loan and mortgage insurance.

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