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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 19, 2014

Loan Officer Pleads Guilty to $2.5 Million Mortgage Fraud

RICHMOND, Va. – Brenda Ann Blair, 36, of Bonita Springs, Florida, formerly of Goochland County, Virginia, pleaded guilty today to participating in a fraud scheme that obtained approximately $2.4 million worth of mortgage loans from federally backed financial institutions. 
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Cary Rubenstein, Special Agent in Charge, Mid Atlantic Region of the Office of Inspector General of HUD; Gary Barksdale, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and Adam S. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the Richmond Division of the FBI, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. Magistrate Judge David J. Novak.

Blair, who was charged in a Criminal Information on December 4, 2014, faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison when she is sentenced on March 17, 2015, by United States District Judge James R. Spencer.  The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Blair admitted that she participated with others in a scheme from 2006 to 2008 to fraudulently obtain $2.42 million worth of mortgage backed loans from Washington Mutual Bank, SunTrust Bank, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  The mortgage loans were obtained in approximately 16 different real estate transactions, and produced actual losses of approximately $916,700.  This scheme also defrauded HUD, which lost an additional $63,964, for a total loss of $980,664.

The essence of the scheme was to mislead the lender about the true creditworthiness of the borrowers and the true value of the properties securing the loan.  For example, members of the organization made various misrepresentations on loan applications about such topics as the employment status, income, assets and debts of the buyers.   They would also falsify information to make it appear that the buyer had made a down payment, when, in fact, he or she had not.

In addition, some borrowers purchased more than one property in a short period of time, so that some mortgage loan liabilities did not appear on the borrowers’ credit reports and the mortgage loan applications.  Even though Blair was the loan officer for all of the transactions, she failed to report to the lenders that the borrowers had obtained other outstanding mortgage loans that affected their debt-to-income ratios, and would have affected the lenders’ decision to approve the loans.

This case was investigated by the Office of the Inspector General of HUD, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney David T. Maguire is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:14-cr-172.

Updated April 2, 2015