Two Garrett County Developers Indicted For A $3.7 Million Bank Fraud Scheme
Baltimore, Maryland - A federal grand jury has indicted Samuel R. VanSickle, a/k/a “Donald Blunt,” “Jacob Aiken,” “Allen Helms,” “Paul Walsh,” and “William Hall, Attorney,” age 49, of Accident, Maryland, and Louis W. Strosnider, III, age 47, of Oakland, Maryland, today on charges related to a $3.7 million bank fraud conspiracy.
The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to the six count indictment, Samuel R. VanSickle and Louis W. Strosnider, III owned and developed property in Garrett County, Maryland. VanSickle controlled the mailbox at an address in Accident, Maryland, and rented a post office box, also in Accident. VanSickle used a number of different business names, including Freedom Church, Gospel Church, Equity Exchange, Unity Mortgage, Impartial Lenders, Noble Forest Consultants and used the names Donald Blunt, Allen Helms, Jacob Aiken, Paul Walsh, and William Hall (an attorney). Strosnider operated Stony Brook Development Company, LLC, a Maryland corporation located in McHenry, MD.
The indictment alleges that from December 31, 2001, through June 30, 2004, VanSickle and Strosnider devised a scheme to fraudulently obtain money and property from financial institutions. Specifically, the indictment charges that VanSickle purchased properties, concealed the ownership and control of the properties using false names and identities, inflated the value of the properties through fraudulent loans and mortgages; entered into sales contracts with Strosnider at inflated prices with fictitious down payments; and then Strosnider obtained bank loans with fraudulent collateral to finance sales of the properties. In this way, the indictment alleges that entities controlled by VanSickle sold the properties to Strosnider, with the purchase prices actually being paid to VanSickle in the name of companies he controlled. The indictment alleges that VanSickle and Strosnider purchased two properties using these methods.
The indictment also seeks forfeiture of $3,751,000 and 40 properties held in VanSickle’s name or in the names of nominees in Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
The defendants face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for the conspiracy and for each of five counts of bank fraud. An initial appearance has been scheduled for February 28, 2014 in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI for its work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Joyce K. McDonald, who is prosecuting the case.