branson realtor pleads guilty to $391,000 mortgage fraud
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Branson, Mo., real estate agent has pleaded guilty in federal court to her role in a $391,519 mortgage fraud scheme.
Vickie Kay Lind, 48, of Branson, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. England on Friday, Oct. 28, 2011. Lind, who pleaded guilty to all four counts contained in the June 22, 2010, federal indictment, had been scheduled to begin her bench trial this week.
By pleading guilty, Lind admitted that she participated in a wire fraud conspiracy and a money laundering conspiracy from Aug. 1 to Oct. 3, 2005. In addition to the conspiracies, Lind pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.
Lind, a realtor who did business as My Realty Company, LLC, defrauded First Magnus Financial Corporation in Overland Park, Kan., by submitting fraudulent documentation in order to obtain $391,519 in mortgage loans for an Ozark, Mo., residence.
In order to obtain the loans, Lind provided false documentation that an individual was leasing the property for $3,500 per month. First Magnus Financial Corporation approved the buyer’s loan application on the strength of the $3,500 per month lease agreement. First Magnus would not have approved the loan application without this lease agreement, because the buyer’s debt to income ratio was too high.
Without the lender’s knowledge, Lind obtained $70,000 from the loan proceeds, while the seller of the property only received approximately $310,000. Lind submitted a fraudulent invoice in order to direct a $25,000 payment to Elite Home Alliance, which was actually Lind’s own company and which had not performed any work. In reality, Lind used the $25,000 for her own benefit. Lind also submitted a fraudulent invoice in order to direct a $45,000 payment to Gold Pointe Homes, which likewise had not performed any services. In reality, those funds were used to repay a loan from a friend in Arizona, who had loaned the money so Lind could live in the residence until it could be sold for a profit.
Lind declared bankruptcy in October 2005. The buyer could not make the monthly mortgage payments, nor could he sell the residence, and the property went into foreclosure. As a result, First Magnus Financial Corporation lost $70,426.
Under federal statutes, Lind is subject to a sentence of up to 70 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $750,000. 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 Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation and the FBI.