Former Raleigh Real Estate Developer and Entrepreneur Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Defraud Investors and Banks
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 18, 2013|
United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announces that today in federal court, former real estate developer James Thomas Webb, 52 of Miami, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud before Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever, III.
The indictment charges that between 2002 and 2006, Webb operated various real estate companies, including Alpine Properties LLC and Webb Builders LLC for a profit. Webb promised investors in multiple states quick, large, and safe financial gains by investing money with him. Webb promised investors that he would use their money to purchase, renovate, and resell properties to first-time home buyers in various states, including North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee. Webb caused investors to take out loans on properties that he and his companies had allegedly renovated.
The indictment further charges that despite alleged philanthropic and humanitarian objectives, that Webb carried out a fraud upon both the investors who gave cash to Webb and the banks and lenders who Webb caused to disburse loan proceeds. According to the indictment, Webb conspired with former attorney, Amy Robinson, to falsify closing statements associated with the loan transactions. The indictment charges that the closing statements falsified various facts, including the amount of money paid to Webb on the transactions. Webb is also alleged to have conspired with a former appraiser, Larry Max McDaniel, and his associate, Jackie Gale Weaver, to falsify appraisal reports that were given to banks and lenders in connection with investor loans. The appraisal reports are alleged to have falsely stated that McDaniel had physically viewed the properties, when in fact he had not. The indictment also alleges that the properties sold to investors and financed by banks were not always completed or in the condition represented in the appraisal reports.
During the course of the alleged scheme, the indictment charges that Webb lived lavishly, residing in a multi-million-dollar mansion, driving expensive vehicles including a Bentley, traveling extensively, and otherwise paying himself handsomely. Webb is alleged to have abruptly left North Carolina for Florida in 2004, where he continued to market his services under new company names.
Based upon Webb’s statements and representations to investors, various individuals collectively invested approximately $10 million with Webb and his companies. Additionally, banks and lenders disbursed approximately $20 million in loans, leaving investors holding millions in debt. The indictment alleges that Webb left various neighborhoods in North Carolina and Virginia blighted with boarded up and dilapidated homes, many of which were ultimately demolished as uninhabitable.
At the sentencing in this case, which the court has presently scheduled for July 2013, Webb faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years and $1 million in fines. Webb may also be ordered to make restitution to the victims of the conspiracy.
As noted above, Webb’s case relates to the pending cases against former closing attorney Amy Robinson, 35, of Rolesville; former real estate appraiser, Jackie Gale Weaver, 55, of West Hamlin, West Virginia; and former national appraisal instructor, Larry Max McDaniel, 70, of Vienna, West Virginia, who have each pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme. Robinson faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the charge of conspiracy to commit mail, wire, and bank fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. Weaver faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiring to make false statements on loans in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. McDaniel faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine for making false statements on loans and aiding and abetting, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1014 and 2. The sentencings in the cases of Robinson, Weaver, and McDaniel have also been scheduled for June 2013.
If you believe that you are a victim in connection with the case against Webb, Robinson, Weaver, or McDaniel, please contact the Victim/Witness Coordinator for the United States Attorney’s Office at (919) 856-4003.
Investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of the Inspector General, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of the Inspector General, with the assistance of the North Carolina Appraisal Board. Assistant United States Attorney William M. Gilmore is prosecuting the case.