Former University of Cincinnati Basketball Player and Former Girlfriend Sentenced for $2.7 Million Mortgage Fraud Conspiracy
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 09, 2012|
CINCINNATI—Former University of Cincinnati basketball player Anthony O. Buford, 42, and his former girlfriend, Jolie O. Neal, 47, were each sentenced to 41 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $2,779,609 in restitution to lending institutions they defrauded as part of a scheme to obtain mortgages on three properties they owned and keeping the money rather than paying off existing loans.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Edward Hanko, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced the sentences imposed February 7 by Senior U.S. District Judge Sandra S. Beckwith.
Buford and Neal each pleaded guilty on June 8, 2011 to one count of conspiracy to commit mail, wire, and bank fraud.
According to court documents, Buford worked for Dynus Financial in its mortgage business and Neal owned Tri-State Title Company when they met and became romantically involved in 2003.
Neal asked Buford to broker a loan for an additional mortgage on her house. She closed the loan herself and kept the money rather than paying off the existing mortgage. She and Buford conspired to repeat the scheme in order to defraud approximately nine lending institutions beginning from in or about September 2004 until in or about July 2007 for an approximate loss of $2,779,500.
“Buford and his co-conspirator Jolie Neal were insiders in the mortgage business and therefore, were able to manipulate the system to their benefit,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Barry wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed with the court.
Stewart commended the investigation by the special agents of the FBI, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry, who prosecuted the case.