Loan Officer Charged In Mortgage Fraud Scheme
PITTSBURGH, Pa. ‑ Acting United States Attorney Robert S. Cessar announced today, July 27, 2010, that Mark Hipsley of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on a charge of Wire Fraud in connection with a mortgage fraud conspiracy.
The one‑count indictment named Hipsley, age 38.
According to the indictment presented to the court, Hipsley was a loan officer at First Capital Home Equity, a company that assisted borrowers in securing loans collateralized by real estate. Hipsley, along with several others, conspired to present lenders with false loan applications and other documents designed to mislead lenders into making loans. The applications contained misrepresentations related to the borrowers' income and assets. In addition, members of the conspiracy, including Hipsley, submitted appraisals to lenders that were purportedly prepared by licensed appraisers when, in fact, they were prepared by unlicensed appraisers. In addition, the appraisals overstated the true fair market values of the properties serving as collateral for the loans.
Assistant United States Attorney Brendan T. Conway, who presented the case to the grand jury, indicated that 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.
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.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.