California Woman Pleads Guilty to $5 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme to Purchase Santa Rosa and Walton County Homes
PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – United States Attorney Pamela C. Marsh announced today that Andrea Lorraine Avery, 47, of Los Angeles, California, pleaded guilty this afternoon on federal charges concerning a mortgage fraud and money laundering scheme. Avery is scheduled to be sentenced on March 20, 2014, before Senior United States District Judge Roger Vinson.
According to the Indictment and the facts admitted by Avery during her guilty plea, beginning in 2005 and continuing through 2008, Avery and others entered into contracts to purchase residences located in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, and California. Thereafter, loan applications were submitted to financial institutions to fund the purchases. In the loan applications, Avery and other borrowers made false statements to the lenders, which included: providing false names and social security numbers; overstating the borrower’s income and assets; and falsely stating the earnest money deposit was not borrowed. In support of the loans, Avery and other borrowers submitted fraudulent supporting documents to the lenders, which included: false pay-stubs, false W-2s, false verifications of employment, and false documentation concerning the borrower’s credit. Thereafter, Avery and others transferred money, required from the borrower to close on the purchase of the property, to the title agent handling the closing. As a result of Avery’s fraud, lenders loaned over $5,646,250 for just the five homes located in Santa Rosa and Walton counties. As a part of the scheme, Avery and others received kickbacks from the fraudulent loans’ proceeds.
Avery’s Indictment was the seventh indictment obtained as a part of the investigation into this multi-state mortgage fraud and money laundering scheme. Some of the others indicted and sentenced before Avery included: Lonnet Rochell Williams, who received 120 months in prison; Bryan Pool, who received 57 months in prison; Steven Imes, who received 78 months in prison; Annita Hawes, who received 23 months in prison; Raysean Richardson, who received 18 months in prison; and Dorothy Rodriguez who received 18 months in prison.
For Counts One through Six of the Indictment, which charged conspiracy to commit fraud and mail fraud affecting a financial institution, Avery faces up to 30 years in prison on each count, and for Count Seven of the Indictment, which charges conspiracy to commit money laundering, Avery faces an additional 20 years in prison.
The charges are the result of an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany H. Eggers.