Minneapolis Man Indicted For Mortgage Fraud In Connection With Burnsville Condo Project
MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court in St. Paul, a 43-year-old Minneapolis man was indicted with allegedly defrauding mortgage lenders out of millions of dollars in connection with the sale of condominiums at Chateau Ridge in Burnsville. Jared Mitchell Rothenberger was specifically charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, six counts of wire fraud, seven counts of money laundering, two counts of monetary transactions in criminally derived property, and one count of bank fraud. The indictment combines charges related to Chateau Ridge with those Rothenberger also faces in connection to the Cloud 9 Sky Flats development in Minnetonka. Rothenberger was originally charged in the Cloud 9 case on November 8, 2011.
The most recent indictment alleges that from August 24, 2006, through July 15, 2007, Rothenberger and others conspired to defraud mortgage lenders out of money by finding straw buyers to apply for mortgage loans to purchase units at Chateau Ridge. He and others then allegedly made misrepresentations to the lenders regarding the straw buyers’ financial situation, among other things. In some instances, he also reportedly provided straw buyers with funds for down payments, although his actions were never disclosed to the lenders. Furthermore, Rothenberger allegedly participated in the distribution of mortgage loan proceeds outside of actual property closings, again without informing the lenders. Some of the funds—or kickbacks—distributed in that manner amounted to hidden purchase-price discounts and were allegedly provided to the straw buyers. Kickbacks were also purportedly made to Rothenberger and others involved in the scheme in the form of “facilitator” fees or other bogus charges.
Rothenberger is accused of similar criminal activity in connection with the Cloud 9 Sky Flats condominium development in Minnetonka. That case involves more than 40 “Cloud 9” units. In excess of $4.2 million was reportedly transferred to accounts for the purpose of paying kickbacks and otherwise sharing in the proceeds of the fraud scheme.
If convicted, Rothenberger faces a potential maximum penalty of 30 years for conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, 30 years for bank fraud, 20 years for each count of money laundering and wire fraud, ten years for each count of monetary transaction involving criminally derived property, and five years for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. All sentences will be determined by a federal district court judge.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Christian S. Wilson and Robert M. Lewis.
This law enforcement action is in part sponsored by 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, 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.
An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.