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Week in Review—Fort Wayne

U.S. Attorney’s Office November 02, 2012
  • Northern District of Indiana (219) 937-5500

FORT WAYNE, IN—The United States Attorney’s Office announced the following activity:

Plea:

Michael Watkins, 55, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, pled guilty before Magistrate Judge Roger Cosbey to the felony offenses of distribution of material involving the sexual exploitation of minors and possession of materials depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Magistrate Cosbey is recommending that the district court accept the tendered guilty plea. Parties have 10 days in which to object to the magistrate judge’s recommendation. These charges were filed as a result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Noblesville Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lesley Miller Lowery.

If convicted in court, any specific sentence to be imposed will be determined by the judge after a consideration of federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

Dispositions:

Ryan Webb, 32, and Johnny Stine, 40, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, were each sentenced by District Judge Jon DeGuilio to 21 months’ imprisonment, two years of supervised release, and restitution of $585,000 after pleading guilty to the felony offense of making false statement in connection with a mortgage loan and mortgage insurance. According to the sentencing memorandum filed by the government in this case, Webb and Stine engaged in an extensive mortgage fraud scheme by purchasing inexpensive homes and, through the use of advertising, selling these homes for two and three times their original purchase price to buyers who could not on their own qualify for the needed mortgage loan. They provided monies to the home buyers/borrowers to cover loan closing costs and other expenses. To hide the fact that all of the monies for closing (that were supposed to come from the buyers/borrowers but in fact came from the seller), Webb and Stine prepared phony “gift letters” documenting falsely that the monies they provided had come from family or friends of the buyers/borrowers. They prepared and submitted mortgage loan applications containing false statements regarding the available assets of the home buyer/mortgage loan applicant, including the use of phony/fraudulent asset documentation that falsely stated buyer-borrower assets in bank accounts. This case was the result of an investigation by the Department of Housing and Urban Development-Office of the Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Indiana State Police. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Donald Schmid.

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