Lake County Man Indicted in Alleged $3.2 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme Involving Properties in Chicago’s Englewood Community
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 22, 2014|
CHICAGO—A Lake County man who operated two real estate–related firms was indicted on federal mortgage fraud charges. The defendant, Conrad Ulz, allegedly engaged in a scheme to fraudulently obtain 13 residential mortgage loans, totaling approximately $3.2 million, from lenders to purchase properties in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood. The indictment alleges that Ulz paid buyers to purchase the properties and promised them no out-of-pockets costs and then made false statements to lenders on their behalf. As a result, the lenders incurred losses totaling more than $3.1 million because the amount of the mortgage loans was not fully recovered through subsequent sale or foreclosure.
Ulz, 73, of Libertyville, who operated Citywide Financial Group and Metro Realty Services, was charged with five counts of wire fraud and three counts of making false statements to financial institutions in an indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury yesterday and announced today. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of at least $3.1 million. Ulz will be arraigned on a date to be determined in U.S. District Court.
According to the indictment, between August 2007 and May 2009, Ulz caused buyers to fraudulently obtain 13 mortgage loans from various lenders for properties on South Sangamon, South Carpenter, South Morgan, South May, and South Ada streets, among others, in Englewood on the city’s south side. The alleged fraud involved false representations in documents, including loan applications and HUD-1 settlement statements concerning sales prices and the buyers’ employment, assets, income, and intention to occupy the property.
Ulz allegedly recruited buyers with good credit, promising to pay them for purchasing the properties and promising that they would not have to pay any of their own money toward the purchases, including down payments and mortgage payments.
The charges were announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert J. Holley, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Renai Rodney.
Each count of wire fraud affecting a financial institution and making false statements on loan applications carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, and restitution is mandatory. The court may impose an alternate fine totaling twice the loss to any victim or twice the gain to the defendant, whichever is greater. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.