Former Oakdale Resident Facing Fraud Charges
PITTSBURGH - A former resident of Allegheny County has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on charges of mail fraud, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
The seven-count indictment named Jason Sheppard, 32, as the sole defendant.
According to the indictment, Sheppard was doing business as Synergy Real Estate Solutions, which claimed to provide title insurance, settlement services, lead generation, and referral services to companies in the real estate industry, including appraisers. Sheppard generated a website which made it appear that Synergy had partnered with a variety of financial institutions, and then sent email solicitations to licensed appraisers claiming that Synergy had requests for appraisal orders. The email claimed that all the appraisers had to do was complete an appraiser application and pay a fee to Synergy and then they would be considered approved vendors and would receive a list of appraisal requests in their area. After receiving payment from the appraisers, Sheppard did not provide any of Synergy's advertised services, and he used the money to further the fraud scheme and to support his lifestyle.
The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 140 years in prison, a fine of $1,750,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant United States Attorney Brendan T. Conway is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The United States Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.
An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.