doj.gif

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



JUNE 27, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


REAL ESTATE BROKER PLEADS GUILTY TO

MORTGAGE FRAUD CONSPIRACY


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an Olathe, Kan., real estate broker pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud.


             Michael Rodd, 53, of Olathe, Kan., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs this morning to the charge contained in a Jan. 4, 2007, federal indictment. Rodd is a real estate broker doing business as Heartland of America, Inc., in Olathe.


             Rodd admitted that, from early September through Nov. 17, 2006, he participated in a conspiracy to defraud Fieldstone Mortgage Corporation.


             Rodd admitted that he conspired with others to obtain financing to purchase residential property at 5034 Sunset Drive in Kansas City, Mo. at an inflated price in order to obtain loan proceeds in excess of the actual sale price. According to Rodd, co-conspirators falsely represented to Fieldstone Mortgage that the sale price was $1.2 million, while in reality, the actual sale price was $707,000. According to Rodd, co-conspirators sought to obtain a loan to purchase the property through a fraudulent loan application and other fraudulent documents.


            Rodd’s role in the conspiracy was to act as the real estate agent in connection with the sale and purchase of the Sunset Drive property. He obtained a listing agreement for the residence, purportedly found the buyers, and otherwise acted as the real estate agent for the transaction. According to Rodd, he attended a meeting of co-conspirators at which they agreed that the sale price reported to the lender would be inflated, a loan obtained for the higher amount, and a false management fee added to the Settlement Statement (to be submitted to the lender). Rodd admitted that co-conspirators also agreed in the meeting that the difference between the actual sale price and the loan amount would go to a co-conspirator, not to the borrower.


             Larry E. Barshaw, 56, and Linda M. Thompson-Barshaw, 57, of Kansas City, Kan., were recruited as “straw buyers” to purchase the Sunset Drive property. 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. Thompson-Barshaw is the owner of Colormarc, Inc., a remodeling business that employed her husband, Barshaw. The Barshaws pleaded guilty on May 25, 2007, to their role in the conspiracy and to wire fraud.


             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, 30, 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.


             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 and an order of restitution, 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. Attorneys Linda Parker Marshall and Gene Porter. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


****************

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