Randolph “Randy” Griffin, 44, Pinellas County, Florida, a title agent, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. Griffin faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a money judgment in the amount of $5.3 million.
According to the plea agreement, while working at Diamond Title, Griffin, a title agent, conspired to defraud a mortgage lender and a seller by allowing the buyer to “fake” certain down payments. Title agents are supposed to prepare true and accurate settlement statements in real estate closings and provide the same to the lenders. Griffin, however, prepared false HUD-1s to send to the primary lender that falsely showed, for example, a down payment of more than half a million dollars. A second or “dueling” HUD-1 was given to another person that showed the truth, that the buyer had actually not put down any downpayment and ended up getting cash out of the deal.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Florida Assistant United States Attorney Thomas N. Palermo.