Towson Title Agency Operator Indicted In $3.4 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme
Allegedly Failed to Make Pay Offs to Mortgage Lenders Holding Liens on Properties
Baltimore, Maryland - A federal grand jury indicted Anthony V. Weis, age 45, of Phoenix, Maryland, yesterday for wire and mail fraud in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme to defraud lenders of over $3.4 million
The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Special Agent in Charge Barbara Golden of the United States Secret Service – Baltimore Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Rebecca Sparkman of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington D.C. Field Office.
According to the 16 count indictment, Weis was the president and a shareholder of Maple Leaf Title LLC, a real estate title agency located at 11 E. Chesapeake Ave., Towson, Maryland, and later at 606 E. Joppa Rd. in Towson. From June 2009 to October 17, 2009, Weis is alleged to have caused lenders to wire funding for real estate closings by fraudulently representing in settlement statements that Maple Leaf would pay off existing mortgage holders in accordance with the lenders’ disbursement instructions. Weis, however, allegedly failed to make pay offs to existing mortgage lenders and lien holders and wrongfully transferred approximately $3.4 million out of the Maple Leaf escrow account to use for his own personal benefit or the benefit of others.
The indictment further alleges that the scheme was not uncovered until the property owners received late payment notices from the entity holding the mortgage or lien on the property. These delinquency notices often took several months before the seller was alerted. The time delay allowed Weis to replenish the escrow account with proceeds from new real estate settlements. Weis also allegedly maintained multiple escrow accounts to prevent discovery by auditors of improper disbursements of escrow funds.
The indictment seeks forfeiture of $3.4 million.
Weis faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release and a fine of $1 million on each of the 16 fraud counts. His initial appearance has not yet been scheduled.
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.
The Maryland Mortgage Fraud Task Force was established to unify the agencies that regulate and investigate mortgage fraud and promote the early detection, identification, prevention and prosecution of mortgage fraud schemes. This case, as well as other cases brought by members of the Task Force, demonstrates the commitment of law enforcement agencies to protect consumers from fraud and promote the integrity of the credit markets. Information about mortgage fraud prosecutions is available http://www.justice.gov/usao/md/Mortgage-Fraud/index.html.
This law enforcement action is part of President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage 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.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Schenning, who is prosecuting the case.