News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

Oakdale man sentenced in connection to $7 million mortgage fraud scam

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 3, 2013


MINNEAPOLIS—Yesterday in federal court, a 33-year-old Oakdale man was sentenced for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme that caused losses to lenders exceeding $7 million. On May 2, 2013, United States District Court Judge David S. Doty sentenced Bryan Joseph Lenton to three years of probation on one count of conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud through interstate wire. Lenton was indicted, along with two others, on December 7, 2010, and pleaded guilty on March 8, 2011. He cooperated with authorities in the prosecution of his co-defendant, John Anthony Spencer, and in the investigation and cooperation of James Hoffman, another mortgage fraud defendant currently serving a 78-month sentence.

In his plea agreement, Lenton, a real estate appraiser, admitted he provided appraisals for properties that falsely inflated market values in order to create a pool of funds to be split among him, his co-defendants, and straw buyers.

The scam, orchestrated by Spencer, involved brokering fraudulent loans that were used by recruited purchasers to buy residential real estate at inflated prices. The transactions generated proceeds that greatly exceeded what the sellers were content to accept as full payment for their properties. The excess money was split up among the buyers Spencer recruited as well as Spencer himself and accomplices he solicited in an effort to bring the transactions to fruition.

The properties included six single-family homes in north Minneapolis, five residential
condominium units located on Fisk Avenue in St. Paul, four condo units located on Dayton
Avenue in St. Paul, a home in Albertville, Minnesota, and two investment properties located in
north Minneapolis.

Spencer, a mortgage broker at Minnesota One Mortgage, agreed to assist the owner of a
five-plex condominium unit on Fisk Street in St. Paul to sell those units. To that end, Spencer
recruited Lenton to appraise each of the units at substantially more than the owner of the units
was willing to accept as full payment for them. Spencer then recruited straw buyers to purchase
the units with loan proceeds obtained via fraudulent loan applications prepared by Spencer and
Patrick Arthur Dols, another mortgage broker.

On October 31, 2011, Spencer, age 33, of Albertville, was sentenced to 125 months in prison
on one count of conspiracy, ten counts of wire fraud, one count of bank fraud, and one count of
money laundering. He was convicted on June 2, 2011, after a three-week jury trial.

On November 29, 2012, Dols, age 40, of Minneapolis, was sentenced to one year and one
day in prison on one count of conspiracy. He pleaded guilty on March 1, 2011. In his plea
agreement, Dols admitted that his role in the conspiracy was to take fraudulently drafted loan
applications in the names of various straw buyers and find lenders willing to make mortgage
loans based on the false information he was providing.

This case was the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal
Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. MacLaughlin.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office wants to remind people to protect themselves from mortgage
fraud. For more information, visit http://www.stopfraud.gov/protect-mortgage.html.

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