Metro-East Woman Sentenced on Mortgage Loan Fraud, Tax Fraud, and Food Stamp Fraud Offenses
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 21, 2011|
A metro-east resident was sentenced today in the United States District Court in East St. Louis for participating in a conspiracy to defraud the United States and evade the payment of federal income taxes, for making false statements on a mortgage loan application, and for making false statements to obtain Food Stamp Program benefits, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Chamethele McKinney, 36, was sentenced to 37 months’ imprisonment.
Court documents indicate that brothers Robert Todd McKinney and John Quinn McKinney owned and operated McKinney Hauling, a construction business located in East St. Louis, Illinois. In 2003, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began pursuing the brothers for unpaid taxes. The McKinney brothers evaded the payment of their tax obligations for the tax years 1999-2000, and 2002-2006, by diverting business income from McKinney Hauling into nominee bank accounts, which were used to pay personal and household expenses. Robert and John McKinney also admitted lying to federal officials about their business income and their home addresses. Belinda and Chamethele McKinney each pled guilty to falsifying mortgage loan documents while purchasing real estate—solely in their own names—so that business income earned by the husbands could be diverted into assets owned exclusively by their wives, thereby avoiding a combined IRS tax lien of $2,465,089.74, including penalties and interest.
On her loan application to purchase a house on Seasons Ridge in Maryville, Chamethele McKinney indicated that she was a manager at McKinney Hauling, she had a gross monthly income of $15,374.23, she had a letter indicating that she was a part owner of McKinney Hauling since January 1998, and that she had a verification of rent or mortgage; all of which were false and misled the lender. Knowing that her husband John Quinn McKinney had tax liens and poor credit, Chamethele McKinney submitted the loan applications in her own name only. After closing, Chamethele received a kickback of $45,541.16 from the seller, an amount above the actual cost of the house.
At sentencing, the United States argued that incarceration was necessary to put an end Chamethele’s parasitic lifestyle.
Chamethele McKinney was also sentenced to five years of supervised release, ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,512,384.22 to the Internal Revenue Service, in the amount of $267,678.47 to Deutsche Bank, and in the amount of $22,488.00 to the Illinois Department of Human Services, and ordered to pay $300 as a special assessment to the court.
On December 2, 2011, her husband John Quinn McKinney and her brother-in-law Robert Todd McKinney were both sentenced to 57 months’ imprisonment. On December 13, 2011, her sister-in-law Belinda Cheri McKinney was sentenced to 37 months’ imprisonment.
The investigation was conducted by agents from the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Illinois Department of Human Services. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Liam Coonan and Steven D. Weinhoeft.