FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
MONDAY - August 25, 2008
CUMBERLAND COUNTY CLAN CHARGED IN WIRE/BANKRUPTCY FRAUD CASE
RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that on August 21, 2008, a Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment on TERRI J. HART, 45; APRIL HALL, 34; THOMAS WALTER THACKER, JR., 68, all of Fayetteville, North Carolina; and SHIQUANDRA ANN BROOKS, 35, of Hope Mills, North Carolina. All have been charged with conspiracy, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, which has a maximum penalty of up to five years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine followed by three years of supervised release; and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343, which carries a maximum penalty of up to 30 years imprisonment and/or a $1,000,000 fine followed by five years supervised release. Additionally, HART has been charged with two counts of bankruptcy fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 152(7) and (3), each which has a maximum penalty of up to five years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and/or both, followed by three years of supervised release.
The Indictment alleges that from October 31, 2003 through July 1, 2005, HART and HALL, through Carriage Crossings, Inc., and ABC Trading, Inc., with employees of the corporations, THACKER and BROOKS and others, conspired to obtain 100% financing for people purchasing lots and mobile homes from the defendants and the corporations they represented, who would not otherwise qualify for such financing. Although the means varied between the properties sold, all sales involved inflated property values and false representations to potential lenders that either a down payment had been made by the purchaser, which in fact had not been made, or that a second mortgage was taken back by the seller for the difference between the first mortgage and the inflated value, however, this second mortgage had not actually occurred or been collected on by the seller. The defendants faxed false and fraudulent information concerning each property closing to the closing attorney, the lender, and the mortgage broker. In early 2004, HART, as an agent for Carriage Crossings, Inc., filed for bankruptcy. Omitted from the bankruptcy filings was at least one executory contract and the existence of bank accounts.
Mr. Holding commented on the importance of this case: “The Indictment in this case reflects a scheme to take advantage of some vulnerable citizens–Those whose ability to purchase and maintain a home is slim. Here, we believe these defendants prayed upon these buyers and “sold” them something that was, in fact, too good to be true.”
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
Investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.