11 Ga. Defendants pleaded guilty to carrying out mortgage fraud over several years | New
11 defendants have pleaded guilty to carrying out a brazen multi-year mortgage fraud scheme in the Atlanta metro area.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the business began more than four years ago and has resulted in the approval of more than 100 mortgages based on fabricated documents and false information. Most mortgages had to be paid by the Federal Housing Administration after borrowers defaulted.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said homebuyers and real estate agents worked together to submit fraudulent loan applications to mortgage lenders.
Federal prosecutors have said listing agents Eric Hill and Robert Kelske represent a major nationwide home builder.
The program began when he met over 100 unqualified homebuyers and told them what kind of assets they should claim on their applications and what kind of employment and income they would have to submit in order for their applications to be approved. .
Agents then coordinated with several document makers, including defendants Fawziyyah Connor and Stephanie Hogan, who altered homebuyers’ bank statements to inflate their assets and created fake bank entries, reflecting fake direct deposits from a employer selected by real estate agents, according to a spokesperson for the US attorney.
In addition, the U.S. Attorney’s Office noted, the document makers also generated fake income statements that matched direct deposit entries to make the homebuyers look like they were employed and earning income from a bogus. employer.
Once the documents were in place, other program participants then acted as job verifiers and responded to phone calls or emails from lenders to falsely verify homebuyers’ employment.
Federal prosecutors said Anthony Richard, a real estate agent, falsely claimed to represent home buyers as a sales agent so that he could receive commissions on home sales. In fact, Richard, according to a spokesperson for the US attorney, had never even met the home buyers he claimed to represent.
To bypass the process, Richard informed the closing lawyers that he was unable to attend the closing and then sent instructions by wire to receive his commissions.
After Richard received his unearned commissions, he returned the majority of the commissions to Hill or Kelske and then kept a small share for his role in the scheme, a spokesperson said.
The following defendants pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States:
• Eric Hill, 50, from Tyrone, Georgia
• Robert Kelske, 52, from Smyrna, Georgia
• Fawziyyah Connor, 41, from Tyrone, Georgia
• Stephanie Hogan, 57, from Norcross, Georgia
• Jerod Little, 42, from McDonough, Georgia
• Renee Little, 33, from McDonough, Georgia
• Maurice Lawson, 36, from Powder Springs, Georgia
• Todd Taylor, 54, from Fairburn, GA
• Paige McDaniel, 49, of Stockbridge, Georgia
• Donald Fontenot, 52, from Locust Grove, Georgia
• Anthony Richard, 44, from Locust Grove, Georgia
A twelfth defendant, Cephus Chapman, 49, of Warner Robins, Ga., Awaits trial.
The defendants were not convicted and agreed to pay restitution to the government.