Closing Attorney Sentenced To Prison For His Role In Mortgage Fraud Scheme
RALEIGH - United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced that in federal court today before Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever, III, JEFFREY SCOTT TAGGART, of Wilmington, NC, was sentenced to a 36 month term of imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release, on charges of Conspiracy to Commit Mail, Wire, and Bank Fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, and Subscribing to a False Income Tax Return, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7206(1). TAGGART was also ordered to pay $3,060.896.77 to 12 banks and lenders who were victims of the fraud.
With respect to the charge of Conspiracy to Commit Mail, Wire, and Bank Fraud, the indictment alleged that TAGGART, in his capacity as a North Carolina attorney, prepared false HUD-1 settlement statements that he sent to banks and lenders on more than 50 loan transactions tied to the scheme. TAGGART falsified the HUD-1 settlement statements in various ways, including the falsification of the existence and degree of the buyer’s down payment, the existence and degree of financing, the existence or nonexistence of a buyer or seller, the actual contract price for the property, and the true recipient of all loan proceeds. TAGGART also participated in the scheme by fronting money from his firm’s escrow account to assist borrowers to appear qualified for loans that he closed.
As a result of the scheme, banks and lenders issued loans to the conspirators in the amount of approximately $15.8 million, which resulted in $3,060.896.77 in actual losses to the banks and lenders.
With respect to the Charge of Subscribing to a False Income Tax Return, the indictment alleged that TAGGART falsely listed his taxable income as $80,486, when in fact, his taxable income was $271,003.
Investigation of this case was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney William M. Gilmore represented the United States.