Two Plead Guilty to Mortgage Fraud
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 22, 2011|
COLUMBIA, SC—United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated that James Lee Putnam, age 40, and Alissa Rae Smith, age 29, both of Myrtle Beach, pled guilty today in federal court in Florence to conspiracy to make a false statement, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. United States District Court Judge Robert Bryan Harwell accepted the plea and will impose sentence after he has reviewed the presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
Testimony presented at the guilty plea hearing established that Mr. Putnam conspired with others to accept a payment of $36,500 from the proceeds of a real estate transaction. The payment was not reflected on the settlement statement for the transaction, which was provided to the lender. Testimony revealed that Ms. Smith received a payment of over $200,000.00 from the proceeds of a real estate transaction. The payment was reflected on the settlement statement, but was based on a fraudulent invoice.
Mr. Nettles stated the maximum penalty Putnam and Smith can receive is a fine of $250,000 and/or imprisonment for five years, plus a special assessment of $100.
The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney John C. Potterfield of the Columbia office handled the case.