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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Friday, February 15, 2013

Yeadon Man Charged In Multi-Million Dollar Mortgage Fraud Scheme

Eric Ponder, 43, of Yeadon, Pennsylvania, was charged today by Information with participating in a mortgage fraud conspiracy involving more than 100 Philadelphia properties and more than $20 million in fraudulent loan proceeds, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. Ponder is charged with conspiracy to commit loan and wire fraud, loan fraud, and wire fraud. He allegedly received approximately $1 million through his participation in this mortgage fraud scheme.

The information alleges a massive mortgage fraud conspiracy that operated between May 2004 and February 2009, primarily in the West Philadelphia section of the city of Philadelphia. Ponder, who held himself out as a real estate developer, is alleged to have helped cause the submission of numerous fraudulent loan applications that resulted in mortgages being unwittingly issued by various banks by, among other things, knowingly making false statements on loan applications in his own name and helping secure mortgages in the names of others by recruiting “straw buyers” whose identity and fraudulent information was used to obtain the loans. Ponder is also alleged to have submitted false invoices for construction work never performed on the properties in order to justify payments to him from the settlement proceeds of loans in the names of the straw buyers. According to the information, co-conspirator Willie G. Manley, charged elsewhere, was an accountant who created false income documents, such as W-2 forms, paystubs, and Form 1040 income tax returns, which were submitted to lenders. The conspiracy also included grossly inflated appraisals, false title insurance policies, false receipts for home repairs that were never performed, and straw buyers who knowingly allowed their names and identities to be used to purchase the properties and defraud the banks.

The information alleges that a Philadelphia-based property settlement company, “KREW Settlement Services,” was at the center of the conspiracy. Most of the mortgages were unpaid and most of the properties fell into foreclosure.
If convicted, Ponder the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence 55 years in prison, five years of supervised release, a fine of $1.5 million or twice the gross gain resulting from the offense, and a $300 special assessment.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael S. Lowe.

Click here to view the indictment

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Updated December 15, 2014