News and Press Releases

Appraiser Pleads Guilty In Mortgage Fraud Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 20, 2011

PITTSBURGH, Pa. ‑ A resident of Pittsburgh, Pa., pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of wire fraud conspiracy in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Richard Lawrence Veazey, 53, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Veazey, who was an appraiser, participated in a conspiracy in which he submitted fraudulent appraisals that overstated the value of the properties serving as collateral for loans.  He also accepted responsibility for providing fraudulent appraisals in connection with an otherwise unrelated mortgage fraud scheme. The parties agreed that the loss caused by Mr. Veazey's criminal conduct was between $1,000,000 and $2,500,000.

The law provides for a total sentence of 20 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 offenses and the 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 Investigations; 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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