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Press Release

Four Men Charged In A Mortgage Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS— A federal grand jury has recently returned an indictment charging four men in connection with the Split Rock Realty mortgage fraud investigation. On July 9, 2014, Thomas Edward Rosensteel III, 41, of Excelsior, Robert Scott “Rod” Aslesen, 65, of Little Canada, Justin Joseph Christenson, 34, of East Bethel, and Dale Russell Wurzinger, 57, of Burnsville, were each charged with eight counts of Wire Fraud and one count of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud.

The four defendants allegedly participated in a scheme to defraud mortgage lenders in connection with the sale of excess unsold builder inventories of residential real estate. The scheme allegedly involved recruiting purchasers to buy properties at inflated prices, falsifying loan applications and other documents, fronting down payments for purchasers, and paying kickbacks to the purchasers outside of closing. The indictment alleges that the defendants concealed the fronted down payments and kickbacks from the lenders. United States Attorney Andrew Luger stated, “The allegations in this indictment illustrate a sophisticated scheme carried out by licensed professionals in the real estate industry. We have been working closely with the FBI and the Minnesota Department of Commerce Fraud Bureau to bring charges against these four individuals who used their knowledge and position to take advantage of the system.”

"The Commerce Department takes very seriously its job to stop fraud by licensed professionals, and to protect the public from these kinds of crimes,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “These criminal charges result from a thorough investigation done by the Commerce Fraud Bureau and FBI, in tandem with the U.S. Attorney's Office, and should send a strong message that when laws are broken, there will be tough consequences.”

Three other individuals have already pleaded guilty to criminal charges in connection with this scheme and are awaiting sentencing. They are Amri Elsafy, 42, of Brooklyn Park; Gerald Edwin Carlson, 67, of Kennedy, Minnesota; and James Bryan Crook, 58, of Brooklyn, New York.

If convicted, the defendants face a potential maximum penalty of 30 years in prison on each count. All sentences are ultimately determined by a federal district court judge.

This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Minnesota Department of Commerce Fraud Bureau. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Otteson.

An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.



Updated April 30, 2015