ALL FIVE DEFENDANTS CHARGED IN MORTGAGE FRAUD CASE PLEAD GUILTY TO THEIR ROLES IN THE SCHEME
Defendants Obtained Approximately $22 Million in Loan Proceeds
DALLAS — Five defendants have pleaded guilty, before Chief U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater, to their respective roles in a three-year-long, multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme they ran in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña, of the Northern District of Texas. The scheme involved defrauding and obtaining money from lending institutions by, among other things, using straw buyers to purchase homes by submitting false/fraudulent documents to lenders. The defendants obtained nearly $22 million in fraudulently obtained loan proceeds through the scheme. Each defendant is scheduled to be sentenced in January 2012.
Michael Anthony Baker, 31, presently of Houston, Texas, who was a Dallas resident at the time of the fraud, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and aiding and abetting and one count of money laundering and aiding and abetting. He and others recruited and induced individuals to act as straw borrowers. Both counts carry a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Monique Untae Stallworth, 37, of Garland, Texas, and Koreem Dujuan Baker, 34, of Dallas, (Michael Baker’s brother), pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and aiding and abetting and one count of engaging in monetary transactions with criminally derived property and aiding and abetting. Among other things, they opened bank accounts that they used to receive money from titles companies for “upgrades” to residential real estate properties based on bogus invoices that were submitted to the title companies at closing by Michael Baker and others. They each face a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the wire fraud count and 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the engaging in monetary transactions count.
Sterling Wesley Harris, 29, of Dallas, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and aiding and abetting. He faces a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The last plea in the case was entered on September 7, 2011, by Folami Dayo Baker, 36, of Desoto, Texas, who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Baker worked as a loan officer/processor with Lunar Mortgage Services, a mortgage brokerage located in Lewisville, Texas. She faces a maximum statutory sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Each of the defendants could also be ordered to pay restitution.
The defendants profited from loans to purchase residences in the Dallas area; fraudulently obtained mortgages in others’ names; fraudulently obtained mortgages for more than the sales price; fraudulently found individuals with sufficient credit to qualify for the loans; fraudulently made each borrower appear to be a qualified, bona fide purchaser who intended to reside in the property, when the borrower had no intention of doing so; fraudulently created surplus loan proceeds by creating bogus invoices for repairs/upgrades which were never done; fraudulently allowed the residences to go into foreclosure after no, or just a few, payments were made on the loan; and fraudulently shared in the surplus loan proceeds.
Properties involved in the scheme include:
- 4660 Courtyard Trail, Plano, Texas
- 1263 Deer Lake Trail, Frisco, Texas
- 704 Colten James Lane, Dallas, Texas
- 4080 Glenhurst Lane, Frisco, Texas
- Townhomes in ‘The Habitat,’ located off Live Oak Avenue, Dallas, Texas
- 7015 Old York Road, McKinney, Texas
- 6181 Preston Haven Drive, Dallas, Texas
This case was brought in coordination with 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. For more information about the task force visit: www.stopfraud.gov
The case is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Nicholas Bunch is in charge of the prosecution.
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