Mortgage Broker Sentenced to More than 8 Years in Prison for Fraud, Money Laundering and Obstructing Justice
Defrauded Commercial Loan Applicants of $650,000
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Robin Neil Snyder, age 56, of Pikesville, Maryland today to 97 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for 13 counts of wire fraud, money laundering and obstructing justice arising from a scheme to defraud commercial loan applicants, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. Judge Blake also ordered that Snyder pay restitution, although the final amount of restitution will be determined after reviewing victims claims.
“The lengthy prison term in this case sends a powerful message about our commitment to prosecute lenders who callously cheat loan applicants,” said United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Robin Snyder collected $650,000 in advance fees from commercial loan applicants, knowing that he would not lend money as promised. Even after his arrest in this case, Mr. Snyder continued to solicit advance fees through the internet.”
According to evidence presented during the three week trial, Snyder, a licensed mortgage broker, owned and operated Mortgage Bankers, Ltd., originally located in Baltimore and relocated to Owings Mills, Maryland in 2005. From about March 2002 to January 2006, Snyder used internet websites to advertise and solicit customers for his lending businesses, and promote Mortgage Bankers as a commercial lender capable of providing “difficult” or “impossible” loans anywhere in the United States in amounts up to $300 million. Snyder had prospective commercial borrowers mail and fax to Mortgage Bankers business plans, appraisals, tax returns and insurance information in support of the borrowers’ loan applications. Snyder would advise the applicants that based on his review of their applications, the applicants were qualified to receive the loans. He falsely stated that he or another lending source he had located would be the lender. In fact, Snyder had insufficient funds available to lend and had not located other lending sources.
The loan applicants were required to pay a nonrefundable advance fee referred to as a “mortgage origination fee” and a “conditional commitment fee.” Applicants were falsely advised that settlement would take place after underwriter issues were resolved. However, Mortgage Bankers had no underwriting staff and none of the supporting documentation supplied to Mortgage Bankers was ever submitted to another company for independent underwriting. After the commercial loan applicants transferred the advance fees, it became difficult for the applicants to contact Snyder, leaving the borrowers with no information about their anticipated settlement dates. On those occasions when loan applicants were able to make contact with Snyder, he refused to schedule a settlement date. Although the applicants complied with all requests for income and document verification, Snyder refused to close the loans and kept the advance fees. Bank records introduced at trial showed that Snyder and his company collected more than $650,000 in advance fees for commercial loan applications.
Even after his arrest on the federal indictment, Snyder continued to use his website to solicit advance fees from commercial loan applicants in violation of his pretrial release conditions. As a result, the government moved to revoke Snyder’s pretrial release conditions and an evidentiary hearing was held on October 4, 2007. At that hearing, the defendant attempted to obstruct the proceeding by making false statements about his discussions with a loan applicant who lived in Vermont and by moving into evidence a backdated letter and refund check.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their investigative work and thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Martin Clarke and Michael Leotta, who prosecuted the case.