November 27, 2022

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Real estate agent sentenced for running multi-year mortgage and real estate commission fraud schemes | USAO-NDGA

ATLANTA – Atlanta true estate agent Eric Hill has been sentenced for his participation in a mortgage fraud scheme that netted a lot more than $21 million in fraudulent home loan loans.  Several of the fraudulent loans ended up insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), ensuing in about $850,000 in statements remaining compensated for mortgages that have defaulted.  Hill also engaged in a plan to defraud his employer, a nationwide actual estate developer, out of more than $480,000 pounds in true estate commissions.

“Eric Hill and his co-conspirators defrauded mortgage personal loan holders out of tens of millions of dollars, with taxpayers being saddled with significantly of the reduction,” claimed U.S. Legal professional Kurt R. Erskine.  “We will vigorously prosecute those who commit house loan fraud and enrich them selves at the expenditure of financial establishments and governing administration courses that insure or warranty the financial loans.”

“While it is straightforward to dismiss money fraud situations as victimless crimes for the reason that of their lack of violence, there is, nonetheless, incredibly true victimization to our financial state and our taxpayers,” reported Chris Hacker, Exclusive Agent in Cost of FBI Atlanta. “This sentencing sends the message that the FBI will persistently operate to protect American citizens and the genuine estate sector from predators who drag down our economic system by deception for their very own personalized acquire.”

“Eric Hill engaged in premeditated felony acts with the sole intent of enriching himself, devoid of regard for millions of American homebuyers who rely on federal housing applications to insure their home loans. His fraudulent actions strike not only at the fiscal integrity of the FHA, but also our neighbors and communities who are victims of these techniques,” stated Unique Agent in Charge Wyatt Achord with the Section of Housing and Urban Advancement Workplace of Inspector Common. 

“The Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office environment of Inspector Common (FHFA-OIG) is dedicated to holding accountable all those who commit fraud in the housing and property finance loan marketplace and abuse the sources of the Govt-Sponsored Enterprises regulated by FHFA.  We are happy to have partnered with HUD-OIG, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office environment for the Northern District of Georgia in this situation,” stated Edwin S. Bonano, Particular Agent-in-Demand, FHFA-OIG, Southeast Location.

According to Performing U.S. Legal professional Erskine, the charges and other information offered in court: The defendants participated in a scheme in which homebuyers and real estate brokers submitted fraudulent loan applications to induce property finance loan creditors to fund mortgages.  Eric Hill and Robert Kelske had been true estate agents who represented a significant nationwide homebuilder.  Hill and Kelske aided much more than 100 homebuyers who were being seeking to purchase a property, but who were being unqualified to get a house loan, commit fraud.  The agents instructed the homebuyers as to what type of belongings they essential to claim to have in the bank, and what style of work and earnings they necessary to submit in their home finance loan apps.

Hill and Kelske then coordinated with various doc fabricators, which includes defendants Fawziyyah Connor and Stephanie Hogan, who altered the homebuyers’ financial institution statements to inflate their assets and to produce financial institution entries reflecting bogus direct deposits from an employer picked by the actual estate agent.  The doc fabricators also created bogus earnings statements that matched the immediate deposit entries to make it look that the homebuyer was employed, and earning profits, from a fake employer.  Other participants in the plan then acted as work verifiers and responded to mobile phone calls or emails from loan providers to falsely verify the homebuyers’ work.  Defendants Jerod Minor, Renee Very little, Maurice Lawson, Todd Taylor, Paige McDaniel and Donald Fontenot acted as employment verifiers.  Hill and Kelske coordinated the development and submission of the bogus facts so that the lies to the loan companies were being dependable.

In one more facet of the scheme, Hill and Kelske conspired with serious estate brokers Anthony Richard and Cephus Chapman, who falsely claimed to signify homebuyers as their marketing brokers in purchase to obtain commissions from the residence gross sales.  In reality, these authentic estate brokers experienced never even satisfied the homebuyers they claimed to characterize.  To stay clear of detection, the agents typically notified closing lawyers that they would not be obtainable for the property closing and despatched wire guidance for the receipt of their commissions.  When these purported providing brokers received their unearned commissions, they kicked back again the the vast majority of the commissions to Hill or Kelske for enabling them to be added to the offer, keeping a compact share for their part in the scheme.

Eric Hill, 52, of Tyrone, Georgia, was sentenced to two yrs, 6 months in prison to be adopted by 3 years of supervised launch.  Hill was convicted on these fees on September 21, 2020, just after he pleaded guilty.

In addition to Hill, Defendants Donald Fontenot, Maurice Lawson, Stephanie Hogan, Jerod Minor, Renee Minor, Paige McDaniel, Fawziyyah Connor, and Anthony Richard have all been sentenced for their roles in the conspiracies. 

  • Todd Taylor pled responsible and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 3, 2022.       
  • Robert Kelske also pled responsible and is scheduled to be sentenced April 14, 2022.       
  • Cephus Chapman was convicted at trial and is scheduled to be sentenced on February 10, 2022.

This case was investigated by the Department of Housing and City Enhancement Office environment of the Inspector General, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Federal Housing Finance Company Business office of Inspector Standard.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys David A. O’Neal, Alison B. Prout, and former Northern District of Georgia Assistant U.S. Legal professional Ryan Huschka prosecuted the scenario.

For even further details please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Business at [email protected] or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet deal with for the U.S. Attorney’s Workplace for the Northern District of Ga is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.