Palm Harbor Woman Sentenced To Federal Prison For Running Fraudulent Home Inspection Business
Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington today sentenced Tammy Roaderick (40, Palm Harbor) to thirty-three months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The court also entered a money judgment against Roaderick in the amount of $2,396,498.25, which are the proceeds traceable to the offense. Roaderick pleaded guilty on July 18, 2013.
According to court documents, Roaderick and her co-conspirator, Dean Counce, operated American Mortgage Field Services, LLC (AMFS). AMFS performed preservation and inspection work for homes in various phases of foreclosure, including homes that were owned by government entities such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The government entities paid servicing lenders, such as Bank of America, to protect and maintain their properties. Beginning in or around 2007, in order to protect the investments and to prevent unnecessary deterioration from neglect or vandalism, some of the servicing lenders retained AMFS to conduct periodic inspections of government-owned or insured properties.
Each month, the servicing lenders would send Counce, Roaderick, and AMFS a list of properties that required inspection. These inspections required Counce and other AMFS employees to visit a property, fill out an inspection report, and take photographs. Counce and others transmitted the inspections electronically to the servicing lender, and the servicing lenders then paid AMFS a fee per inspection.
As the real estate market declined, Counce, Roaderick, and AMFS began to receive an increasing number of requests for inspections on properties in foreclosure. Most or all of the mortgages on the properties were owned or insured by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or FHA. The requests far exceeded AMFS’s capacity to deliver. As a result, Counce, Roaderick and other AMFS employees acting at their direction began fabricating inspection reports. AMFS employed individuals, many of whom were unskilled teenagers, to use previous months’ photographs to fabricate subsequent inspection reports on properties. Counce and Roaderick also instructed AMFS employees to fabricate inspection reports by using publicly-available websites, such as property appraiser sites, to obtain data about properties that were not inspected. Employees who produced large numbers of false inspection reports were often rewarded with cash bonuses. AMFS employees, acting under Counce’s and Roaderick’s direction, then submitted these falsified inspection reports to AMFS’s clients along with false claims for payments. The government estimates that from in or around March 2007, until Roaderick withdrew from the conspiracy on or about December 31, 2009, AMFS received approximately $2,396,498.25 from Countrywide/Bank of America based upon fraudulent inspections.
This case was investigated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General, Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of the Inspector General, and the United States Secret Service. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mandy Riedel.