News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

FRIDAY - December 12, 2008

FIVE PEOPLE INDICTED IN MORTGAGE FRAUD SCHEME

RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that on November 19, 2008, a Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment involving five people in a mortgage fraud scheme. The Indictment was unsealed yesterday charging DANIEL ADAM ROOKS, 31, of Whiteville, North Carolina; his father, ALFORD EUGENE ROOKS, 63, also of Whiteville, North Carolina; STANLEY GARFIELD WILLIAMS, JR., 37, of Bolivia, North Carolina; HENRY CLAY BLAKE, JR., 69, of Riegelwood, North Carolina; and CYNTHIA TILLEY GREER, 50, of Clarendon, North Carolina, with conspiring to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1349; aiding and abetting wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1343 and 2; and conspiring to money launder, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(h). Additionally, WILLIAMS, GREER and BLAKE were also charged with aiding and abetting mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341 and 2.

As stated in the Indictment, from approximately January, 1998, until about April, 2004, the defendants devised a scheme to defraud home buyers, banks and other lenders to obtain money and property from the home buyers and lenders, by materially false and fraudulent pretenses. DANIEL ROOKS bought about four tracts of land in Whiteville, subdivided the properties, put trailers on them, and sold them to low income people from around the area. In the beginning, ROOKS was selling these properties himself with the aid of several other Rooks. ROOKS partnered with two mortgage brokers, WILLIAMS and another individual out of Greenville, to finance the mobile homes. ROOKS falsely stated to the buyers the estimated cost of the property, the payment amounts and his ability to secure loans. After taking their Social Security numbers and names, he would then turn the information over to WILLIAMS and the other broker and they would falsify the loan applications, sending them in for approval.

BLAKE was a registered property appraiser and prepared false and inflated appraisals of certain parcels of real property that were submitted to mortgage lenders, which were relied upon by the lenders to determine the value of the real property for the mortgage loan. GREER was employed as a paralegal and notary by a law firm in Whiteville, North Carolina, where she prepared and notarized various real estate documents including the HUD-1 settlement statement. She also arranged and conducted real estate closings, sometimes without the borrower’s knowledge or presence, and prepared and disbursed settlement checks.

After the first round of sales were foreclosed, because the buyers could not make the payments, WILLIAMS began buying up the foreclosed property, finding new buyers or getting straw buyers whose names and Social Security numbers he could use to sell them all over again. Over 100 loans were secured and approximately $6 million in fraudulent funds were received.

The maximum penalty for conspiring to commit wire and mail fraud is 30 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,000,000 or both, and supervised release of up to five years. For aiding and abetting wire fraud, the maximum penalty is up to 30 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,000,000 or both, and supervised release of up to five years and for aiding and abetting mail fraud the maximum penalty is up to 20 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000 or both, and up to three years of supervised release. Money laundering has a maximum penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater or both, and up to three years supervised release.

Investigation of the case was conducted by Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Murphy served as prosecutor for the government.

 

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.

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