Trial Date Set in Multi-Million-Dollar Mortgage Fraud Case
Alleged Fraud Involved Approximately $6 Million in Fraudulently Obtained Loan Proceeds
|U.S. Attorney’s Office July 06, 2011|
DALLAS—An August 29, 2011 trial date before Chief U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater has been set for three defendants charged with running a multi-million-dollar mortgage fraud scheme in the Dallas area, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. Gregory Lashon Thomas, Aja D. Crawford (aka Aja Abercrombie), and Ernest Ohenekitiwa McMillan were arrested on conspiracy to commit mail fraud and mail fraud charges outlined in a four-count indictment returned last month. All three pleaded not guilty and have been released on bond.
According to the indictment, Gregory Thomas, 40, of Desoto, Texas, owned and operated Myriad Investments and Investors Source, two real estate “investment” companies in the Dallas area. Gregory Thomas recruited individuals, including Ernest McMillan, 41, of Dallas, and others to buy residential real estate by telling them that they were purchasing “investment” properties. Thomas further worked with various loan officers, including Aja Crawford, 34, of Irving, Texas, to prepare false loan applications on behalf of the individual purchasers. The loan applications included misrepresentations about the individuals’ monthly income, intention to occupy the property, assets, and liabilities. Some loans also included fake documents attempting to justify an individual’s credit-worthiness, such as fake bank records to show that the individual had sufficient money in the bank to qualify for the mortgage
For certain properties involved in the scheme, Thomas provided the down payment at closing. Shortly after closing, Thomas received payment from the seller that wasn’t disclosed on the HUD-1 Settlement Statement. Thomas would then pay the individual purchaser or another recruiter for purchasing the property.
The indictment alleges that from February 2006 through July 2008, Thomas recruited individuals to purchase real estate properties resulting in approximately $6 million in fraudulently obtained proceeds and $2 million in estimated losses.
This case was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information about the task force visit: www.stopfraud.gov.
An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury, and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. If convicted, however, the conspiracy to commit mail fraud count and each of the substantive mail fraud counts carry a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Restitution could also be ordered.
The case is being investigated by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Nicholas Bunch is in charge of the prosecution.