News and Press Releases

Loan Officer Pleads Guilty To Wire Fraud In Mortgage Fraud Scheme

August 4, 2010

PITTSBURGH, Pa. ‑ Acting United States Attorney Robert S. Cessar announced today, August 4, 2010, that Eric Hall, a resident of Henderson, Nevada, and formerly of Monroeville, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of wire fraud conspiracy in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme.

Hall, age 30, pleaded guilty to one‑count before United States District Judge Nora Barry Fischer.

In connection with the guilty plea, Assistant United States Attorney James T. Kitchen advised the court that Hall was a loan officer with Pittsburgh Home Loans, a company that assisted borrowers with obtaining loans collateralized by real estate.  Hall conspired with Robert Arakelian, Karen Atkison, and others to secure loans through fraudulent representations to the lenders related to the assets of the borrowers and the sales prices of the properties.  The conspirators also submitted fraudulent documents to the lenders, including settlement statements that fraudulently represented to the lenders that the borrowers had made down payments associated with the purchases of the properties from their own funds, when, in fact, they did not make such down payments, and Verifications of Deposits that falsely represented that the borrowers had sufficient funds in a bank account to make the down payments.

Judge Fischer scheduled sentencing for December 10, 2010, at 9:00 a.m.  The law provides for a total sentence of twenty years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.  Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

The Mortgage Fraud Task Force conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.  The Mortgage Fraud Task Force is comprised of investigators from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and others involved in the mortgage industry.  Federal law enforcement agencies participating in the Mortgage Task Force include the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation; the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General; the United States Postal Inspection Service; and the United States Secret Service. Other Mortgage Fraud Task Force members include the Allegheny County Sheriff's Office; the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office, Bureau of Consumer Protection; the Pennsylvania Department of Banking; the Pennsylvania Department of State, Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation; and the United States Trustee's Office.

Mortgage industry members with knowledge of fraudulent activity are encouraged to call the Mortgage Fraud Task Force at (412) 894-7550.  Consumers are encouraged to report suspected mortgage fraud by calling the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 441-2555.

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