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April 1, 2009

LOAN OFFICER CONVICTED FOR ROLE IN MORTGAGE FRAUD SCHEME

(HOUSTON) – A former loan officer for Motown Mortgage Group and Central Capital Financial Group has pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire and mail fraud and laundering the proceeds of the fraud through a financial institution for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme, acting United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. 

Brandon Alanzo Crenshaw, 28, of Houston, pleaded guilty Wednesday, April 1, 2009, to mail and wire fraud conspiracy charges and money laundering charges. At a hearing before United States District Judge Nancy F. Atlas, Crenshaw admitted to conspiring with others to defraud residential mortgage lenders by misstating facts relevant to the lending decisions over a 3 ½ year period beginning in late 2003. Crenshaw worked as a loan officer at two Houston area mortgage broker firms, Motown Mortgage Group and Central Capital Financial Group, where fraudulent loan applications and other fraudulent documents were prepared to induce mortgage lenders to provide 100% financing for homes the borrower’s falsely claimed were to be their primary residences. Crenshaw purchased homes using false and fraudulent information concerning his assets and liabilities and he recruited others to do the same.

At today’s hearing, Crenshaw admitted to recruiting individuals to apply for mortgage loans for residences in the Houston area while he served as a loan officer at Motown Mortgage Group and Central Capital Financial Group. The loan applications contained materially false information including employment and income information. False appraisals inflating the price of each of the two properties were also submitted to the lender. Once the loans were funded, Crenshaw received money for his role in these transactions. Crenshaw also admitted to having purchased two properties himself in March 2005 providing the lender false information about his place of employment and his monthly income as well as falsely claiming each of the two residences were to be his primary residence.

Ultimately, the loans applied for through Motown Mortgage Group and Central Capital Financial Group fell into default and were foreclosed.     

The conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud conviction carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. The conspiracy to commit money laundering through financial transactions involving criminally derived funds conviction carries a maximum penalty of 10 years and a $250,000 fine or twice the amount laundered whichever is greater. Sentencing has been set for Nov. 6, 2009, at 1:00 pm. Crenshaw has been permitted to remain on bond pending his sentencing hearing.

The criminal charges are the result of a joint investigation conducted by agents of the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Annis.

 

 

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