FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
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Mortgage Broker Pleads Guilty in Fraud Scheme
- He and Others Used “Straw Buyers” to Cash in on Proceeds of Loans -
WASHINGTON - Donald M. Ramsey, 45, a mortgage broker from Alexandria, Va., pled guilty today to a charge of conspiracy to commit bank and mail fraud for his part in a scheme that cost lenders more than $700,000.
The guilty plea, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, was announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr.; Peter Rendina, Acting Inspector in Charge, Washington Division, U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Joseph W. Clarke, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; William P. White, Commissioner of the District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking, and James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
Ramsey and a co-defendant, LaFrances Dudley O’Neal, were indicted in December 2011 on charges of bank fraud, mail fraud, and conspiracy to commit bank and mail fraud. The indictment also included a forfeiture count seeking all proceeds from the defendants’ crimes. In addition, O’Neal was charged with one count of fraud under District of Columbia law. O’Neal, 48, of Clinton, Md., has pled not guilty to all of the charges and is awaiting trial.
Ramsey entered his guilty plea before the Honorable Reggie B. Walton. He faces a statutory maximum of five years in prison as well as potential fines and other penalties. As part of his plea agreement, Ramsey agreed to the forfeiture of a money judgment of $366,000, representing his proceeds from the crimes. No sentencing date was set.
According to a statement of offense, signed by the defendant as well as the government, from 2006 to 2008, Ramsey and others defrauded banks and other lenders of money through false statements and misrepresentations. They identified residential real estate in the Washington, D.C. area, as well as straw buyers to obtain mortgages through false loan applications, forged documents, and fraudulent settlements. Ramsey acted as a mortgage broker, assisting lenders and completing loan applications that exaggerated the salary and cash assets of the straw buyers.
Ramsey also admitted submitting to the settlement agent invoices falsely claiming that he provided investment advice to the sellers and therefore was owed money payable from the sale of the properties. The settlement company paid him from the fraudulently loaned proceeds.
In addition, Ramsey admitted the co-conspirators committed various other actions, including receiving loan money for “renovation” not performed.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Machen, Acting Inspector in Charge Rendina, Special Agent in Charge Clarke, Commissioner White, and Assistant Director in Charge McJunkin commended the work of those who investigated the case for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the D.C. Department of Insurance Securities and Banking, the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and the Metropolitan Police Department. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including former Paralegal Specialist Sarah Reis, Forensic Accountant Crystal Boodoo, and Legal Assistant Krishawn Graham. Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Virginia Cheatham, who is prosecuting the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane Lucas, who is handling asset forfeiture issues.