Conspirator Sentenced to Prison for $1.5 Million in Mortgage Fraud Losses
BALTIMORE, MD—U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar sentenced Demetrius Peete, age 46, of Manassas, Virginia, to a year and a day in prison followed by three years of supervised release for conspiring to commit wire fraud in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme which resulted in losses attributable to Peete of approximately $1.5 million. Judge Bredar also ordered Peete to pay restitution of $394,908 to the victims and to forfeit $1.5 million.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Special Agent in Charge Brian Murphy of the United States Secret Service Baltimore Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Michael P. Tompkins, Washington Field Office, U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General; Howard County Police Chief William McMahon; and Howard County State’s Attorney Dario Broccolino.
According to his plea agreement and court documents, in 2008 and 2009, Peete agreed to participate in several fraudulent real estate transactions that settled at M&R Title, Inc., located in Alexandria, Virginia. In 2009, Peete also agreed to participate in several fraudulent real estate transactions that settled at Sanford Title Services, located in Columbia, Maryland. Peete, along with co-conspirators Bonnie Kreamer, Niesha Williams, Rhonda Scott and Emeka Udeze arranged real estate transactions so that they could siphon profits out of the transaction for themselves. Peete negotiated short sales on behalf of sellers in which the properties were sold for a higher price than was represented to the lien holders and the sellers.
Peete and his coconspirators deceived buyers, sellers and lenders to make it appear to sellers that they were selling their property at a low price, and to buyers and lenders that the property was being sold at a higher price. The co-conspirators created paperwork for two different sales of the property at the same time. The first sale was fraudulent because it was backdated, the buyer planned to immediately flip the property in a subsequent sale and the settlement statement listed a fake loan. In the second sale, the sales price was significantly increased and the settlement statement showed a large sum being disbursed to the lender to pay off an existing lien. In fact, those funds were improperly disbursed to the co-conspirators.
Peete admitted that his participation in the schemes involved at least 10 victims, including lenders, sellers and buyers of real estate, title insurance companies and lien holders. He further agreed that the reasonably foreseeable loss associated with Peete’s conduct is approximately $1.5 million.
Bonnie Kathleen Kreamer, a/k/a Bonnie Meehan, age 49, of Riva, Maryland; Gregory Green, age 49, of Waldorf, Maryland; Niesha Williams, age 35, of Fort Washington, Maryland; Rhonda Scott, age 53, of Oxon Hill, Maryland; and Emeka Udeze, age 39, of Bowie, Maryland, each previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the fraud. Kraemer, who was responsible for the daily operations at Sanford Title, was sentenced to 51 months in prison, and ordered to pay restitution of $2,499,048 to the victims and to forfeit $4.8 million. Scott was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $2.7 million and pay restitution of $703,000. Williams was sentenced to 27 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $3.1 million and pay restitution of $1,445,593. Green was sentenced to three months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $404,596. The other conspirators await sentencing.
The Maryland Mortgage Fraud Task Force was established to unify the agencies that regulate and investigate mortgage fraud and promote the early detection, identification, prevention and prosecution of mortgage fraud schemes. This case, as well as other cases brought by members of the Task Force, demonstrates the commitment of law enforcement agencies to protect consumers from fraud and promote the integrity of the credit markets. Information about mortgage fraud is available at http://www.justice.gov/usao/md/priorities.html.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Since the inception of FFETF in November 2009, the Justice Department has filed more than 12,841 financial fraud cases against nearly 18,737 defendants including nearly 3,500 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI, Department of Justice—OIG, Howard County Police Department, Secret Service and Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Harry M. Gruber and Judson T. Mihok, who are prosecuting the case.