Five charged for $2.2 million mortgage scheme involving 67 properties in mansfield and crestline areas
A one-count federal information was filed against five people accused of taking part in a mortgage fraud scheme involving 67 properties throughout the Mansfield and Crestline areas, Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, announced today.
The lenders lost a more than $2.2 million as a result of the scheme, according to the information.
The information charges one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud in a mortgage fraud scheme.
Those charged are:
Matthew L. Songer, age 37, of Crestline; Kevin D. Barcomb, age 39, of Kirtland, Ohio; Dawn M. Hedges, age 46, of Bucyrus, Ohio; Ronald L. Kightlinger, Jr., age 52, of Crestline, Ohio; and, Peter R. Lamb, age 46 of Angier, North Carolina.
The information charges that from on or about May 5, 2006 through on or about June 20, 2007, Songer sold the 67 properties at an inflated purchase price through his company, S.S. Real Estate Investments, Ltd., to Kightlinger and Lamb with that assistance of Barcomb and Hedges.
Songer and S.S. Real Estate owned more than 100 rental properties throughout the Mansfield and Crestline, Ohio areas that had fallen into disrepair and were no longer profitable to maintain and rent, according to the information.
Accordingly, Songer and S.S. Real Estate decided to sell off the rental properties and enlisted the assistance of Barcomb, as the loan officer, and Hedges, as the title agent, to assist in the sale of the rental properties through the mortgage fraud scheme, according to the information.
The information alleges that it was part of the scheme for Songer to provide the down payment funds for Kightlinger and Lamb to purchase the properties, but to conceal this fact from the lenders. Barcomb prepared the loan applications to make it appear to the lenders that Kightlinger and Lamb provided the down payments from their own personal funds when all involved knew that Songer provided the down payments.
Hedges prepared the settlement statements in a similar fashion to the loan applications to conceal the true source of the down payment funds. Kightlinger and Lamb signed the mortgage loan applications and the settlement statements, and allowed them to be submitted to the lenders knowing that the documents contained false information, according to the information.
The defendants’ fraudulent conduct induced various lenders, including Geauga Savings Bank, Suntrust Mortgage, Inc., and American Brokers Conduit, a division of American Home Mortgage, Corp. to fund the mortgage loans. All of the properties went into foreclosure when Kightlinger and Lamb could not make the mortgage payments on their properties, according to the information.
If convicted, defendants’ sentences will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including defendants’ prior criminal records, if any, each defendant’s role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases the sentences will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases they will be less than the maximum.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark S. Bennett, following an investigation by the Mansfield Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
An information is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Defendants are entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.