Georgia Real Estate Agent Sentenced for Using Federal Housing Administration Loans in Fraudulent Schemes

 

Federal officials have sentenced an Atlanta real estate agent for a mortgage fraud scheme that netted more than $21 million in fraudulent mortgage loans, many of which were insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

This resulted in more than $850,000 in claims paid for mortgages that defaulted.

That real estate agent, Eric Hill, also schemed to defraud his employer, a national real estate developer, out of more than $480,000 in real estate commissions.

This, according to a press release that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia published Friday.

Federal officials said that other people conspired with Hill.

“The defendants participated in a scheme in which homebuyers and real estate agents submitted fraudulent loan applications to induce mortgage lenders to fund mortgages.  Eric Hill and Robert Kelske were real estate agents who represented a major nationwide homebuilder. Hill and Kelske helped more than 100 homebuyers who were looking to buy a home, but who were unqualified to obtain a mortgage, commit fraud,” according to the press release.

“The agents instructed the homebuyers as to what type of assets they needed to claim to have in the bank, and what type of employment and income they needed to submit in their mortgage applications. Hill and Kelske then coordinated with multiple document fabricators, including defendants Fawziyyah Connor and Stephanie Hogan, who altered the homebuyers’ bank statements to inflate their assets and to create bank entries reflecting false direct deposits from an employer selected by the real estate agent.”

The document fabricators also generated fake earnings statements that matched the direct deposit entries to make it appear the homebuyer was employed and earning income from a fake employer. Other participants then acted as employment verifiers and responded to phone calls or emails from lenders to falsely verify the homebuyers’ employment.

Defendants Jerod Little, Renee Little, Maurice Lawson, Todd Taylor, Paige McDaniel and Donald Fontenot acted as employment verifiers. Hill and Kelske coordinated the creation and submission of the false information so that the lies to the lenders were consistent, the press release said.

“In another aspect of the scheme, Hill and Kelske conspired with real estate agents Anthony Richard and Cephus Chapman, who falsely claimed to represent homebuyers as their selling agents in order to receive commissions from the home sales. In reality, these real estate agents had never even met the homebuyers they claimed to represent,” according to the press release.

“To avoid detection, the agents often notified closing attorneys that they would not be available for the home closing and sent wire instructions for the receipt of their commissions.  When these purported selling agents received their unearned commissions, they kicked back the majority of the commissions to Hill or Kelske for enabling them to be added to the deal, keeping a small share for their role in the scheme.”

Hill received a prison sentence of two years and six months, followed by three years of supervised release.

Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star and The Georgia Star News. Follow Chris on Facebook, Twitter, Parler, and GETTR. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Real Estate” by jongorey. CC BY 2.0.

 

 

 

 

 

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