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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



AUGUST 7, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


GRANDVIEW MORTGAGE BROKER PLEADS GUILTY

TO FRAUD CONSPIRACY


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Grandview, Mo., mortgage broker pleaded guilty in federal court today to conspiracy and wire fraud for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme.


            Ricky L. Hamilton, 53, of Grandview, pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan, Jr., this morning to the charges contained in a Jan. 3, 2007, federal indictment. Hamilton was a mortgage broker at Trinity Mortgage in Grandview.


            Hamilton admitted that he participated in a conspiracy to defraud mortgage lenders from August or early September 2005 through Aug. 2, 2006. Conspirators agreed to obtain loans to purchase a home at 301 S.E. Hackamore, Lee’s Summit, Mo. They also agreed to obtain loans in excess of the listed sale price of the property in order to use the excess funds to rehabilitate another property at 2518 Benton Blvd., Kansas City, Mo., on behalf of one of the alleged conspirators.


            Hamilton agreed to broker a loan for the purchase of the Lee’s Summit residence, knowing that the co-conspirator who was obtaining the loan did not intend to live in the residence and would have no responsibility for the property and that funds from the loans would be used for the other property.


            As part of the conspiracy, Hamilton admitted, conspirators prepared material false and fraudulent and misleading loan applications and supporting documents, which were submitted to MILA, a mortgage lending company with its principal office in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. MILA approved loans totaling $400,000 based upon that false information.


            Hamilton caused Chicago Title to pay to Trinity Mortgage a broker’s fee of $24,475 from the proceeds of the loan on Oct. 3, 2005, of which Hamilton received a commission of $21,865.


            Hamilton also pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud involving the wire transfer of money from MILA to fund the loans on Sept. 30, 2005.


            In today’s plea agreement, Hamilton admitted to additional relevant conduct. In 2003, Hamilton admitted, he schemed to defraud Premier Mortgage Funding, Inc., in Olathe, Kan., where he worked as a contract mortgage processor. Hamilton worked solely on commission from closing home mortgage loans; he received a percentage of the total commissions. As part of loan closing, commission checks were written to Premier Mortgage; these checks were picked up by Hamilton, delivered to Premier Mortgage, and deposited into premier Mortgage’s business bank account. Premier Mortgage then wrote a commission check to Hamilton for his percentage of the commission.


            On March 15, 2003, Hamilton – without the authorization or knowledge of his employer – opened a business account at First Federal Bank in Kansas City, Mo., in the name of Ricky L. Hamilton, d/b/a Premier Mortgage Funding, Inc. From March through Sept. 2003, Hamilton received commission checks from title companies for closings on multiple properties. Instead of giving the commission checks to Premier Mortgage for deposit, however, Hamilton endorsed the checks and deposited them into his unauthorized account at First Federal Bank. Hamilton then used the funds, totaling $59,715, for his personal purposes.


            Under federal statutes, Hamilton could be subject to a sentence of up to 25 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $500,000 and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda Parker Marshall. 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