May 17, 2010
THREE INDICTED FOR MORTGAGE FRAUD
(HOUSTON) – Two sealed indictments charging Veronica Frazier, Robert Veazie and Felton Greer with fraudulently obtaining home purchase loans have been unsealed, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. Both indictments were returned under seal on May 5, 2010, and were unsealed Friday once the three defendants were in custody.
Frazier, 42, of Pearland, was charged in a five-count indictment with conspiracy and wire fraud arising from a scheme to defraud residential lenders in connection with individual condominium purchases in a building located at 917 Main Street in Houston, also known as “The Kirby Lofts.”
Veazie, 35, and Greer, 41, both of Houston, were each charged in a separate but related four-count indictment with conspiracy and wire fraud relating to the Kirby Lofts scheme, as well as in connection with other single-family home purchases in the Houston area.
Greer surrendered to FBI agents Friday morning, while Veazie surrendered to the United States Marshals Service. Both appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Milloy who allowed them to be released upon posting $50,000 bond. Frazier was arrested by FBI agents Friday morning and is expected to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy K. Johnson at 2:00 p.m. today.
According to the allegations in the indictment returned last week, the Kirby Lofts transactions were sham sales. From about January 2006 to October 2006, Frazier recruited individuals with good credit to act as borrowers in applications for mortgage loans to purchase units in The Kirby Lofts and, with the assistance of co-conspirators, assisted these “straw borrowers” with providing false information and documents to induce lenders to fund purchases of units in The Kirby Lofts. The indictment also alleges Frazier and other co-conspirators submitted invoices for payment from loan proceeds and used the money to pay themselves and straw borrowers from loan proceeds.
The indictment against Veazie and Greer alleges they acted as “straw borrowers” in the Kirby Lofts scheme and also for other residential loans involving single-family residential properties in the Houston area. According to the indictment, Veazie and Greer received kickbacks from loan proceeds and provided false statements and documents to induce lenders to fund the purchase loans.
The maximum penalty, upon conviction, for conspiracy and wire fraud is 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.
The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the FBI. Assistant United States Attorneys Belinda Beek and Vernon Lewis are prosecuting the case.
This indictment 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.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.