News and Press Releases

TITLE COMPANY OWNER CHARGED IN FEDERAL COURT WITH MAIL FRAUD

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 30, 2010


BIRMINGHAM - Federal prosecutors have charged the owner of a Birmingham property title company with mail fraud in connection to a mortgage fraud scheme, U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance announced.
                       
JERRY EUGENE PARKER, owner of Central Alabama Title, is charged in an information filed Thursday in U.S. District Court with two counts of mail fraud.
           
According to the information, PARKER, 59, of Hoover, aided and abetted others to perpetrate a fraud through the mail that assisted in the commission of a larger mortgage fraud.

“Title companies are supposed to protect lenders and property owners by making sure that the person seeking a loan on a property is the rightful owner. They are in a position to catch fraud,” Vance said. “This defendant violated the core of his position of trust by not only allowing a fraud to go unchecked, but by assisting in carrying it out. This type of financial fraud is a priority of this Justice Department. It will be prosecuted,” she said.

The information describes the fraud as follows: PARKER, while owning and operating Central Alabama Title between January 2005 and July 2007, would obtain the title of a property to be sold and apply for a refinance loan on the property. When the time came to close on the refinance loan, PARKER, or an employee of his, would change the title of the property to fraudulently reflect that the person applying for the refinance loan was the current property owner. PARKER also back-dated the title to reflect that the person seeking the refinance loan was the past and current owner of the property.

The information charges that PARKER made the changes so it would appear to the lending institution that the person applying for a refinance loan was the owner who held a legitimate equity in the property.  In truth, the person applying for the loan was a new buyer who would not have been eligible to receive a refinance loan.

The maximum sentence for counts one and two is 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for each count.

Special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General investigated the  case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Carney is prosecuting it.

This prosecution is part of President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency task force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force 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, to 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.

Members of the public are reminded that the information contains only charges.  A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

 

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