Garrett County Attorney Sentenced to Prison for Bank Fraud Scheme
Defrauded Lenders of Over $1.7 million
Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles sentenced Angela M. Blythe, age 52, of Oakland, Maryland, today to a year and a day in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiring to commit bank fraud, bank fraud and two counts of making a false statement to a bank. Judge Quarles also entered an order requiring Blythe to forfeit $696,517 and pay restitution of $948,203.25. Blythe was convicted by a federal jury on October 9, 2015, after a nine day trial
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Kevin Perkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Blythe was an attorney licensed to practice in Maryland and West Virginia, with an office in Oakland, Maryland. She was a settlement attorney in real estate transactions.
According to evidence presented at the nine day trial, from 2000 to 2005, Blythe conducted real estate settlements on at least seven occasions involving a co-conspirator whose identity she concealed from the financial institution loaning the funds for the transaction. Blythe filed mortgages on behalf of the co-conspirator, frequently at the last minute, which enabled her to pay the sales proceeds from the transaction to the co-conspirator and not to the named seller. Blythe recorded mortgages and deeds in Garrett County, Maryland and Preston County, West Virginia, which concealed her co-conspirator’s participation in the transactions and receipt of funds.
For example, in April 2004, Blythe transferred ownership of a restaurant/bed and breakfast which bordered on Deep Creek Lake for $0 consideration from her co-conspirator to a fictitious church trustee and church. Louis Strosnider subsequently applied for a mortgage loan of $2,250,000 to purchase the property. Blythe prepared a fraudulent settlement statement which stated that the bank was lending $1,725,000; the remainder of the purchase price was made up of a fictitious $750,000 down payment and $341,379.94 which Blythe was to collect from Strosnider at the settlement. According to the fraudulent settlement statement, Blythe was to pay a purported mortgage company $1,972,427.82 from the proceeds. At the closing in October 2004, Blythe failed to collect Strosnider’s funds as described in the settlement statement. In addition, she distributed the proceeds of the sale not to the fictitious trustee and church, but to her co-conspirator.
In a related case, Louis W. Strosnider, III, age 49, of Oakland, and Samuel R. VanSickle, a/k/a “Donald Blunt,” “Jacob Aiken,” “Allen Helms,” “Paul Walsh,” and “William Hall, Attorney,” age 51, of Accident, Maryland, were previously indicted on conspiracy and bank fraud charges. Strosnider previously pleaded guilty to his participation in the conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing. VanSickle has pleaded not guilty. An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI for its work in the investigation and thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Joyce K. McDonald and Philip A. Selden, who are prosecuting the case.