News and Press Releases

Bank Manager Sentenced For Role In Mortgage Fraud Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 13, 2010

PITTSBURGH, Pa. ‑ A resident of Cabot, Pa., has been sentenced in federal court to five years of probation, including six months of house arrest, on her conviction of wire fraud, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

United States District Judge Nora Barry Fischer imposed the sentence on Crystal Spreng, 40.

According to information presented to the court, Spreng was a branch manager of several branches of Citizens Bank. In that role, and as part of a mortgage fraud conspiracy, Spreng provided false documents to mortgage lenders representing that borrowers had bank account balances at Citizens Bank consistent with representations made to the lenders in fraudulent loan applications.  In this way, Spreng provided fraudulent verifications to the lenders that the lenders relied upon in making the decisions to lend money.  In fact, however, some of the borrowers did not even have accounts at Citizens Bank.  To the extent that the borrowers had accounts at Citizens Bank, their balances were substantially less than the balances represented to the lenders and verified by Spreng.

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

U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the Mortgage Fraud Task Force for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Spreng.  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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