Ricky Dean Unruh, 43, Wichita, Kansas, and Steven Ray Spencer, 48, Carl Junction, Missouri, pleaded guilty in federal court to their roles in a $1.2 million mortgage fraud scheme.
The mortgage fraud schemes involved a total of 20 houses with home mortgage loans ranging from approximately $200,000 to $500,000. The amount of loan proceeds returned to the borrowers ranged from less than $30,000 to more than $100,000. Some of the home purchasers subsequently defaulted on the loans, and the homes have been foreclosed or are in the process of being foreclosed.
Unruh waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009, to a three-count information that charges him with mortgage fraud. Spencer also pleaded guilty yesterday to the charges contained in a Nov. 20, 2008, federal indictment.
Unruh was involved in the purchase of three homes in Ozark, Missouri, for a total mortgage amount of $1,149,158. Unruh admitted that he participated in a conspiracy to obtain mortgage loans for the purchase of homes based on false loan applications, and to return approximately $238,500 of the total loan proceeds to the purchasers of the homes without the lender’s knowledge and outside the closing of the home purchase.
The members of the conspiracy included Charles M. Davis, 34, Rogersville, Mo., and Scott Allen Kassebaum, 42, and his wife Cheryl Joan Kassebaum, 43, both of Ozark, Mo., who have each pleaded guilty in a separate but related case. Davis is a former mortgage broker who was the owner of Master Marketing Consultants. The Kassebaums are former mortgage brokers and co-owners of Metro Consulting Group.
Spencer admitted that he was involved in two separate conspiracies to obtain mortgage loans for the purchase of homes based on false loan applications, and to return a significant portion of the loan proceeds to the purchasers of the homes without the lender’s knowledge and outside the closing of the home purchase. Spencer‘s role in each conspiracy was to be a purchaser/borrower, to execute loan applications that he knew were false, to solicit other purchasers/borrowers for the scheme, and to receive and, on occasion, to facilitate the return to other purchasers/borrowers of a significant portion of the loan proceeds without the lender’s knowledge and outside the closing of the home purchase. Spencer knew that the loan applications were false in that the loan applications included overstatements of income and understatements or omissions of liabilities, falsely represented that the purchaser/borrower intended to reside in the home to be purchased, and, in some cases, stated a false place of employment for the purchaser/borrower.
One conspiracy that involved Spencer also included co-defendants Davis and Shanda Lynn Moore, 45, Springfield, Mo., who has pleaded guilty to her role in the mortgage fraud conspiracy. The second conspiracy also included co-defendant Randall Lee Hall, 59, Springfield, who has pleaded guilty to his role in the mortgage fraud conspiracy and to wire fraud. Hall admitted that the economic loss attributable to his criminal conduct is at least $217,556.
Spencer admitted that the aggregate amount of the loan proceeds obtained through false loan applications and returned to himself or other purchasers/borrowers, without the lender’s knowledge and outside the closing of the home purchase, attributable to his criminal conduct is at least $375,556. The government believes that aggregate amount is $436,556.
Unruh pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering related to a mortgage fraud scheme. In a separate but related case, Spencer pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.
Under federal statutes, Unruh is subject to a sentence of up to 45 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $1.5 million and an order of restitution. Spencer is subject to a sentence of up to 50 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $1.5 million and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
Matt J. Whitworth, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced the guilty pleas.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas C. Bunch. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS-Criminal Investigation.