News and Press Releases

Squirrel Hill Man Charged With Wire Fraud In Connection With Mortgage Fraud Scheme

December 8, 2010

PITTSBURGH, Pa. ‑ A resident of Pittsburgh, Pa., has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on a charge of wire fraud conspiracy in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

The one‑count indictment named Howard Reck, 44.

According to the indictment presented to the Court, Reck was a licensed appraiser who operated a company named Citizen's Appraisal Services, which provided appraisal services.  The indictment alleges that Reck participated in a mortgage fraud conspiracy in which other members of the conspiracy represented to the lenders that the sales prices for properties were higher than the true sales prices.  Reck then provided appraisals that falsely represented that the value of the property serving as collateral for the loans was higher than the true value of the property.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.  Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Brendan T. Conway is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

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.

An indictment or information is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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