News and Press Releases

Appraiser Charged In Mortgage Fraud Scheme

September 29 , 2011

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - A resident of North Braddock, 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 Joel Reck, 46.

According to the indictment presented to the Court, Reck was a licensed appraiser who operated through Platinum Appraisal Services and Absolute Appraisals. 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's role in the conspiracy was to provide appraisals that falsely overstated that the values of the properties serving as collateral for the loans so that they were consistent with the fraudulently elevated sales prices.

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 is an accusation.  A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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