DOJ Seal Department of Justice  

United States Attorney John M. Bales
Eastern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               CONTACT:  DAVILYN WALSTON
THURSDAY, MARCH 18, 2010                                          PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/txe                           DIRECT: (409) 981-7902   CELL: (409) 553-9881
                                                                                                    

FORMER DALLAS BUSINESSMAN SENTENCED FOR MORTGAGE FRAUD SCHEMES IN COLLIN AND DALLAS COUNTIES

            PLANO, Texas - U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced today that a 42-year-old former Dallas businessman has been sentenced to federal prison for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme in the Eastern District of Texas.

            MICAIAH PRUITT pleaded guilty on Sep. 30, 2009, to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud and was sentenced to 71 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Richard Schell.  Pruitt was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,384,015.26. Pruitt had been indicted by a federal grand jury on June 11, 2009.

            According to information presented in court, from March 2005 to October 2006, Pruitt orchestrated a mortgage fraud scheme in which three individuals, Jeanelle Richardson, Pierre Sowell, and Reginald Davis, each bought two or more residential properties from Pruitt, or from someone for whom Pruitt was brokering the sale.  In order to obtain the mortgage loans to make the purchases, Pruitt assisted Richardson, Sowell and Davis in making false statements in the mortgage loan applications, such as overstating income or representing that the borrowers intended to occupy each home as their primary residence.  Pruitt profited from each of the sales and paid the three purchasers for making the purchases.  The purchasers defaulted on all of the mortgage loans.

            Richardson, 37, of Plano, Texas, pleaded guilty on May, 20, 2009, to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud and was sentenced to 20 months in federal prison in Feb. 2010.  She was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $468,838.  Richardson had been indicted by a federal grand jury on Apr. 6, 2009.

            Sowell, 37, of Grand Prairie, Texas, pleaded guilty on Aug. 13, 2009, to an information charging him with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and was sentenced to 20 months in federal prison in Feb. 2010.  Sowell was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $605,627.

            Davis was indicted by a federal grand jury on Apr. 6, 2009, and charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud.  He pleaded guilty on July 9, 2009, and was sentenced in Jan. 2010 to 6 months in federal prison to be followed by 6 months home confinement. Davis was also ordered to pay restitution.

            This law enforcement action is part of President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.

            These cases were investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations Division, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Housing and Urban Development - Office of the Inspector General, and the U.S. Secret Service as part of the work of the North Texas Mortgage Fraud Task Force.  These cases were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Andrew Williams.

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