Denver woman sentenced to federal prison for mortgage fraud scam
DENVER – Vicki Dillard Crowe, aka Vicki R. Dillard, age 32, of Denver, was sentenced last week to serve 60 months in federal prison by U.S. District Court Judge Marcia S. Krieger for mail and wire fraud in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme. Following her prison sentence, Judge Krieger ordered Crowe to spend 3 years on supervised release. She was also ordered to pay $2,408,142.37 in restitution to the victims of her crime. Crowe pocketed close to $1,000,000 during the course of her fraudulent scheme. Crowe was immediately remanded into custody at the conclusion of the sentencing.
Crowe was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on April 5, 2010. Crowe was found guilty following a jury trial on December 16, 2011. She was sentenced on September 27, 2012.
According to the indictment, beginning in June 2004, and continuing through December 2006, Crowe knowingly devised and intended to devise a scheme to defraud various financial institutions and commercial lenders and to obtain money and property from various financial institutions and commercial lenders by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises. The scheme was executed in connection with the residential mortgage loans related to 19 properties in Metro Denver.
As part of the scheme, Crowe worked with at least one mortgage broker to obtain mortgage loans in order to purchase the residential properties, at least two of which were purchased in the name of Crowe’s husband because Crowe was concerned that she would not qualify for the required mortgage loans. In order to qualify, Crowe made and caused to be made at least one materially false representation, including: 1) inflating or fabricating employment or rental income and/or assets of the defendant or her husband; 2) falsely representing defendant Crowe’s job title; 3) failing to disclose all the properties she had recently purchased; 4) failing to disclose all of her financial liabilities; and 5) falsely stating that the property would be a primary residence for the borrower.
As part of the transactions, Crowe persuaded, and caused someone else to persuade, the property seller to falsely inflate the sale price of the property so that Crowe could receive the inflated portion of the sale price as “up front” money, or shortly after, the closing purchase transaction. Sometimes the “up front” money was falsely characterized on a HUD settlement statement as a payment to the broker, although the broker would then pay Crowe the money. At other times, the “up front” money was falsely characterized as a payment to a remodeling company that was supposed to perform specified remodeling work, although the work was never performed, and Crowe actually received the money that was issued to these remodeling companies.
The indictment further alleges that Crowe used much of the “up front” money to make the mortgage payments on the numerous properties that she had purchased. She also refinanced mortgages on a couple of the properties so that she could obtain additional money as a result of the refinance transaction.
In order to qualify for the refinancing of the mortgages, Crowe made the same false statements about employment and income.
“Mortgage fraud hurts borrowers, the public, and the financial system as a whole,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “We will continue to prosecute mortgage fraud aggressively and effectively.”
“The FBI is fully committed to protecting our economy by aggressively investigating those who commit mortgage fraud,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge James Yacone.
“This sentence demonstrates that perpetrators of this type of crime will be held accountable,” said Adam P. Behnen, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service. “The U.S. Postal Inspection Service, in conjunction with our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, continue to aggressively pursue and investigate individuals who engage in this type of financial fraud and use the U.S. Mail to commit this type of crime against our financial institutions and the American public.”
This case was investigated jointly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS).
Crowe was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Pegeen Rhyne and Hayley Reynolds.
Mortgage fraud is a major part of President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wag 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.