Three individuals have agreed to pay $5.325 million to resolve allegations that they knowingly made false statements in connection with a mortgage refinance scheme, the Justice Department announced today. The three individuals are Philip M. Green and Jerry Max Jiles, the owners of Bartlesville Health Care Center Inc., a nursing home in Bartlesville, Okla., and Virgil M. Harry, Jr., the former president of the Harry Mortgage Company.
The United States alleged that Green, Jiles and Harry knowingly made false statements in applications to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for HUD-insured mortgage refinancing for three nursing homes in Oklahoma, including the Bartlesville home. The United States alleged that these individuals made false statements regarding the eligible existing indebtedness of the three nursing homes for the purpose of receiving cash from the HUD-insured mortgage refinancings, in violation of HUD rules and requirements. In 2008, the mortgage loan for the Bartlesville home defaulted, resulting in a loss to HUD and the closure of the nursing home.
"Mortgage lenders and borrowers must deal fairly and honestly when public money is on the line," said Stuart F. Delery, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Department's Civil Division. "The Department of Justice will tirelessly pursue mortgage lenders and borrowers who make false representations to enrich themselves at the public's expense."
"When the combined efforts and attention of the Department of Justice, HUD, and HUD OIG are focused upon those who fail to exercise integrity in connection with HUD programs, the end result will be both unpleasant and costly to the offending party," said David A. Montoya, the Inspector General for HUD.
The allegations arise from audit work conducted by HUD's Office of Inspector General. This case was handled by the Justice Department's Civil Division and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Oklahoma, with the assistance of HUD's Office of General Counsel, Program Enforcement Branch. The claims settled by this agreement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.
This law enforcement action is a part of the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. It includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, including 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, 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.
The Justice Department's total recoveries in False Claims Act cases since January 2009 are over $11 billion.