News and Press Releases

Nine Additional Individuals Prosecuted For Mortgage Fraud

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 6, 2012

PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – Pamela C. Marsh, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, announced today that nine additional individuals have been federally indicted for their involvement in several multi-jurisdictional mortgage fraud schemes and that two individuals previously indicted have been sentenced to prison.  The prosecution of all of these individuals is the result of ongoing investigations being handled by Special Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the State of Florida Office of Financial Regulation-Bureau of Financial Investigations, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

New Indictments Announced

In September 2011, a federal grand jury in Pensacola, returned a three-count indictment against Raysean K. Richardson, 27, of New York, New York, charging conspiracy to commit mail fraud, mail fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  Richardson was arrested on the Indictment in the Eastern District of New York on February 1st, and is scheduled to be arraigned in Pensacola on March 8th.  The charges contained in the Indictment allege that Richardson obtained fraudulent mortgage loans for $617,500 to purchase a residence located in Navarre.  As part of the conspiracy, it is further alleged that after closing on the loans, and following a series of financial transactions, Richardson received approximately $135,961 in kickbacks.  Richardson faces up to twenty years in prison on each count charged in the Indictment. 

In December 2011, a federal grand jury in Pensacola, returned a six-count indictment against Steven F. Reagan, 51, of Arvada, Colorado, and Jay S. Fulton, 47, of Aurora, Colorado, charging each with two counts of mail fraud, conspiracy to commit mail and bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  On January 11th, Reagan and Fulton were arraigned on the indictment by U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth M. Timothy, both men pled not guilty and are scheduled for jury trial before Senior U.S. District Judge Lacey A. Collier on March 5th.  The charges contained in the Indictment allege that Reagan and Fulton falsely obtained mortgage loans in excess of $3 million dollars for the purchase of homes in Santa Rosa Beach.  The indictment also alleges that after closing on the loans, and following a series of financial transactions, approximately $450,000 was transferred into bank accounts held by entities associated with the Riverwalk development in Freeport, FL.  The indictment further alleges that thereafter, Reagan and Fulton solicited borrowers to purchase lots located in the Riverwalk development as an investment opportunity.   It is alleged that these borrowers obtained, through false statements, $2 million dollars worth of mortgage loans to purchase the Riverwalk lots.  As a part of the conspiracy the indictment also alleges that, Reagan and Fulton received kickbacks from an entity associated with the Riverwalk development.  Both men face a maximum of thirty years in prison for the conspiracy to commit bank and mail fraud; up to twenty years in prison on each of the mail fraud counts; and, a maximum of twenty years in prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering.   

Also in December 2011, a federal grand jury in Pensacola returned a six-count indictment against Steven Imes, III, 48, of Woodland Hills, California, and Keasha Rogers, 36, of Atlanta, Georgia, charging each with mail fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  Rogers and Imes were arrested in January and are scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment in Pensacola on February 9th.  The charges contained in the indictment allege that Imes and Rogers obtained fraudulent mortgage loans to purchase residences located in Navarre.  According to the indictment, Imes obtained $1.8 million dollars in mortgages to purchase three homes.  It is alleged that Rogers obtained a mortgage loan for $630,000 for her to purchase a home.  As part of the conspiracy, it is further alleged that after closing on the loans and following a series of financial transactions, Imes received approximately $136,000 in kickbacks and Rogers received approximately $35,000 in kickbacks from the mortgage loans’ proceeds.  Both individuals face up to twenty years in prison on each count charged in the Indictment. 

In January 2012, a federal grand jury in Pensacola returned a four-count indictment against Louis R. Mazzella, 41, of Hollbrook, New York, Scott F. Smith, 48, of Patchogue, New York, Paula N. Smith, 43, of Patcogue, New York, and Jonathon “David” Sanders, 50, of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, charging each with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  The indictment also charges Mazzella, Scott Smith and Sanders with one count of bank fraud, and Mazzella and Scott Smith with one count of mail fraud.  Mazzella and the Smiths were arrested on February 3rd in New York, and are scheduled to make a first appearance in Pensacola on February 27th.  Sanders had his initial court appearance  on the indictment today and is scheduled for a jury trial before Senior District Judge Lacey A. Collier on April 2nd.  The indictment alleges that the four participated in a scheme for Scott Smith to purchase a home in Santa Rosa Beach from Sanders for $1.8 million dollars, with $1.3 million dollars being financed using a loan fraudulently obtained from Washington Mutual (WAMU).  According to the indictment, Sanders had a $1.2 million dollar mortgage on the property at the time that he sold it to Scott Smith, but instead of paying off the loan Sanders caused the money to be diverted elsewhere.  It is alleged that after a series of financial transactions, the four received a portion of the proceeds from Scott Smith’s fraudulently obtained WAMU loan.  It is further alleged in the indictment that Mazzella and Scott Smith participated in a scheme for Smith to obtain a fraudulent $1 million dollar loan from CitiMortgage for Smith to purchase another Santa Rosa Beach home.  According to the indictment, once the CitiMortgage loan was funded, following a series of financial transactions, Mazzella and the Smiths received a portion of the loans proceeds.  Upon conviction, each defendant faces up to thirty years in prison for conspiracy to commit bank and mail fraud, and up to twenty years in prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering.  Mazzella, Scott Smith and Sanders face up to thirty years in prison upon conviction on the bank fraud count, and Mazzella and Scott Smith face up to twenty years in prison upon conviction on the mail fraud count.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a jury at trial.

Update Concerning Indictments Announced in June 9, 2011 Press Release*
Bryan A. Pool, 43, of Los Angeles, California – As previously announced, in April 2011, a federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment against Pool charging bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  In July, Pool pled guilty to all counts.  On December 5, 2011, Pool was sentenced fifty-seven months in prison by Senior United States District Judge Lacey A. Collier.  As a part of his sentence, Pool was ordered to pay over $2.3 million dollars in restitution to the mortgage lenders defrauded.  Upon his release from prison, Pool will begin serving five years of supervised release. 

Dorothy Rodriguez, 54, of Tampa, Florida - In June 2011, Rodriguez pled guilty to an information in Pensacola charging her with mail fraud that affected a financial institution.  On September 22, 2011, Rodriguez was sentenced to fifteen months in prison by Chief United States District Judge M. Casey Rodgers.  Upon her release from prison, Rodriguez will begin serving two years of supervised release.  As a part of her sentence, Rodriguez was ordered to pay $514,000 in restitution to the mortgage lenders defrauded. 

Annita Hawes, 46, of Los Angeles, California - In January 2011, a federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment against Hawes charging bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and identity theft.  In August, Hawes pled guilty.  Hawes is scheduled to be sentenced by Senior United States District Judge Roger Vinson on February 14, 2012. 

These prosecutions are a continuation of this office’s commitment to combat mortgage fraud.  Approximately a year ago, many prosecutions were announced as part of Operation Stolen Dreams, a sweep that targeted mortgage fraud throughout the country and was the largest collective enforcement effort ever brought to bear in confronting the problem.  The operation was organized by the Mortgage Fraud Working Group of President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which was established to lead an aggressive, coordinated effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.

These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tiffany H. Eggers.

* A copy of the June 9, 2011, Press Release can be found at:

 http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/press/2011/jun/hawes.html

 

 

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