Birmingham Man Faces Mortgage Fraud Charges for Selling Houses He Did Not Own
BIRMINGHAM – Federal prosecutors on Monday charged a Birmingham man for running a mortgage fraud scheme in which he sold houses that he did not own, U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance announced.
The case is one of about 19 currently being worked by a Mortgage Fraud Task Force launched in the Northern District of Alabama in March. It is the first of the task force cases to reach prosecution, Vance said.
Prosecutors filed an information in U.S. District Court charging DARRYL COBB, 54, with two counts of mail fraud. Prosecutors also filed a plea agreement with Cobb, in which he acknowledges his guilt.
“The newly created mortgage fraud task force underlines this office’s commitment to putting an end to mortgage fraud, which continues to be a major problem across the nation and victimizes some of our least protected citizens,” Vance said.
“The task force represents a dedicated commitment between both federal and state authorities to address on-going criminal conduct that has severely damaged the real estate market within our communities, the state, and throughout the country,” Vance said. “The task force will focus on mortgage fraud activities at all possible levels, including buyer, seller, broker, real estate agent, appraiser, and funding institutions,” she said.
Federal agencies working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office on the task force include the FBI, Secret Service, Department of Housing and Urban Development - Office of Inspector General, Postal Inspectors Service, Social Security Administration - Office of the Inspector General, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Division, and Federal Deposit Insurance Commission. State agencies on the task force include the Alabama State Bank Department, Alabama Real Estate Commission, Alabama Securities Commission and Alabama Attorney General’s Office.
The Northern District of Alabama already has had success in investigating and prosecuting mortgage fraud cases. The task force was designed to expedite these investigations and build a core team of law enforcement and prosecutors to uncover new or on-going frauds.
Last June, as part of the national mortgage fraud crackdown, Operation Stolen Dreams, this office announced the prosecution of two mortgage fraud rings that had affected 125 properties in the Birmingham Metro Area and caused nearly $4 million in losses to banks and lending institutions.
In the year since, the leader of one of those rings, TIMOTHY JOHNSON, 45, of Bessemer, has been sentenced to 6½ years in prison and ordered to forfeit $2.5 million to the government. His fraud scheme involved more than 40 real estate transactions that caused financial institutions to approve $2.5 million in loans that were fraudulently obtained through false statements and documents made by Johnson.
The second mortgage fraud ring prosecution announced during Operation Stolen Dreams was led by AL CARSON ROCKETT, 33, of Birmingham. Rockett’s fraud schemes took various forms as he adapted to changing banking and funding rules associated with mortgage loans. Rockett has been sentenced to 15 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $1.4 million to the government.
In connection to ROCKETT’s and other mortgage fraud rings, JERRY EUGENE PARKER, president and owner of Central Alabama Title, was convicted of two counts of mail fraud. PARKER aided ROCKETT and others in submitting false documents to lending institutions. The false documents resulted in the approval of mortgage loans that, otherwise, would have been disallowed. PARKER awaits sentencing.
The leader of another mortgage fraud scheme in the Birmingham area, SCOTT ERIC PERRY, is scheduled for trial Sept. 6 on charges of wire fraud and making false statements to lending institutions. Perry, 34, of Brookwood, is accused of buying houses for resale in Jefferson County and failing to disclose on loan documents that he made incentive payments to purchasers and provided the closing costs for the buyers. Those false documents, according to the charges against Perry, prompted lending institutions to authorize mortgage loans they would not, otherwise, have approved.
Mortgage fraud is a priority area for the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The president’s 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. For more information on the federal task force, visit StopFraud.gov.
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