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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD



Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html



MAY 25, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


KANSAS HUSBAND, WIFE PLEAD GUILTY TO

MORTGAGE FRAUD CONSPIRACY


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Kan., couple pleaded guilty in federal court today to their role in a conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud.


             Larry E. Barshaw, 56, and Linda M. Thompson-Barshaw, 57, of Kansas City, Kan., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs this morning to the charges contained in a Jan. 4, 2007, federal indictment. Barshaw and Thompson-Barshaw are married.


             The Barshaws admitted that, from early September through Nov. 17, 2006, they participated in a conspiracy to defraud Fieldstone Mortgage Corporation. Both Barshaws also pleaded guilty to wire fraud.


             The Barshaws were recruited as “straw buyers,” posing as purchasers of residential property at 5034 Sunset Drive in Kansas City, Mo. In reality, the Barshaws never intended to reside at the residence or to make payments on the mortgage. They were to be paid $40,000 for their role in the conspiracy.


             The Barshaws and other co-conspirators sought to purchase the Sunset Drive property at an inflated price in order to obtain loan proceeds in excess of the actual sale price. Co-conspirators falsely represented to Fieldstone Mortgage that the stated sale price was greater than the actual sale price, and sought to obtain a loan to purchase the property through a fraudulent loan application and other fraudulent documents.


             On May 21, 2007, co-defendants James E. Coleman, 59, and James R. Rhoades, 48, both of Kansas City, pleaded guilty to their roles in the mortgage fraud conspiracy. Coleman, a Certified Public Accountant who formerly served as president of the board of a Kansas City magnet school, also pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud. On May 14, 2007, co-defendant Jeremy A. Plagman, 29, of Lee’s Summit, an appraiser doing business as JET Appraisals in Lee’s Summit, pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy.


             Plagman provided an inflated appraisal of $1.2 million for the property at 5034 Sunset Drive. Coleman’s role in the conspiracy was to prepare and provide a number of fraudulent letters for the Barshaws attesting to their credit worthiness. These letters and the inflated appraisal were submitted to Fieldstone Mortgage as part of the loan application to purchase the property. Rhoades’ role in the conspiracy was to assist a co-defendant in obtaining documents needed for the transaction, to prepare and submit false documents as needed, and to contact co-conspirators as needed.


             The Barshaws and Coleman also admitted to wire fraud by acknowledging their responsibility for a facsimile transmission of signed closing documents relating to the sale and purchase of the property that was sent to Fieldstone Mortgage on Nov. 17, 2006.


             Additionally, Coleman also admitted that, on three separate occasions in October and November 2006, he committed wire fraud by transmitting facsimiles of fraudulent documents in furtherance of the conspiracy.


            Under federal statutes, each of the co-defendants could be subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000 and an order of restitution, on the conspiracy charge. The Barshaws and Coleman could also be subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000, on each of the wire fraud charges. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda Parker Marshall and Senior Litigation Counsel Gene Porter. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html