News and Press Releases

New Castle Company Pleads Guilty To Bank Fraud Charge

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 27, 2010

PITTSBURGH, Pa. ‑ A New Castle company specializing in providing appraisal services pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of bank fraud, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Castle Realty Appraisal Services, Inc., pleaded guilty to one count before Senior United States District Judge Gustave Diamond.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Castle Realty Appraisal Services, Inc., provided fraudulent appraisals to First Commonwealth Bank in connection with a loan application. The appraisals were fraudulent because they misrepresented the values of the properties, the condition of the properties, and whether the properties were occupied.

Judge Diamond scheduled sentencing for March 1, 2011. The law provides for a total sentence of five years of probation, a fine of $1,000,000, 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.

Assistant United States Attorneys Brendan T. Conway and James T. Kitchen are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Mortgage Fraud Task Force conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Castle Realty Appraisal Services. 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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