Bethel Park Man Charged in Mortgage Fraud Scheme
PITTSBURGH - A resident of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on a charge of bank and wire fraud conspiracy, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
The one-count indictment, returned on April 29, named Richard Stromberg, 49, of Bethel Park, Pa., as the sole defendant.
According to the indictment, from in and around August of 2002, and continuing until in and around June of 2008, Stromberg knowingly conspired with other individuals known to the grand jury to defraud lenders. Stromberg operated a mortgage broker firm, Great American Home Equity. The conspiracy involved the submission to lenders of loan applications that contained material misrepresentations about the borrower’s financial condition, such as inflating the borrower’s income and assets, and appraisals that overstated the values of the properties serving as collateral for the loans. Stromberg and others also submitted false supporting documentation for the misrepresentations contained in the applications.
The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 30 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000 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 (MFTF) conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case. The MFTF 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 MFTF 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 MFTF 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 an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.