California Man Pleads Guilty to Fraud Charges in Mortgage Fraud, Identity Theft Scheme
On December 21, 2018, George French Jones, Jr., 50, of Santa Monica, California, pled to mail fraud and identity theft charges in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme involving two waterfront residential properties in Broward County, Florida.
Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) made the announcement.
According to information disclosed in open court, in early 2018 Jones identified two residential properties in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which Jones fraudulently pledged as collateral in order to obtain mortgage loans from a private lender.
The two properties were owned by corporate entities that Jones had no affiliation with and which were in fact owned by independent third parties. To execute his fraudulent loan scheme, Jones created fake identification documents and email addresses in order to impersonate officers of the corporate owners of the two properties. Jones then submitted bogus loan applications and other documents to a private lender in which he pretended to be the owners of the Fort Lauderdale properties. As a result of this scheme, Jones defrauded the private lender out of approximately $1.7 million dollars.
Jones pled guilty to one count of mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341, and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1). At sentencing, Jones faces a maximum possible sentence of 22 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola on March 1, 2018, at 8:30 a.m.
U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of the FBI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Browne. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nalina Sombuntham is handling the asset forfeiture aspects of the prosecution.