Federal Jury Convicts Garrett County Attorney in Bank Fraud Scheme
BALTIMORE, MD—A federal jury convicted Angela M. Blythe, age 51, of Oakland, Maryland, today of conspiring to commit bank fraud, bank fraud and two counts of making a false statement to a bank.
The conviction was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Kevin Perkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Blythe was an attorney licensed to practice in Maryland and West Virginia, with an office in Oakland, Maryland. She was a settlement attorney in real estate transactions.
According to evidence presented at the nine day trial, from 2000 to 2006, Blythe prepared deeds, mortgages and notes using false identities provided by her co-conspirator. Blythe recorded those fraudulent documents in Garrett County, Maryland and Preston County, West Virginia, which concealed her co-conspirator’s ownership of the properties. On at least seven occasions, Blythe also conducted property settlements in which her co-conspirator participated as buyer, seller and/or borrower using the false identities, which Blythe concealed from the lenders. Blythe failed to conduct the settlement transactions as described on the settlement statements and paid over the seller’s proceeds as her co-conspirator directed.
For example, in April 2004, Blythe transferred ownership of a restaurant/bed and breakfast which bordered on Deep Creek Lake for $0 consideration from her co-conspirator to a fictitious church trustee and church. Louis Strosnider subsequently applied for a mortgage loan of $2,250,000 to purchase the property. Blythe prepared a fraudulent settlement statement which stated that the bank was lending $1,725,000; the remainder of the purchase price was made up of a fictitious $750,000 down payment and $341,379.94 which Blythe was to collect from Strosnider at the settlement. According to the fraudulent settlement statement, Blythe was to pay a purported mortgage company $1,972,427.82 from the proceeds. At the closing in October 2004, Blythe failed to collect Strosnider’s funds as described in the settlement statement. In addition, she distributed the proceeds of the sale not to the fictitious trustee and church, but to her co-conspirator.
The government seeks the forfeiture of $1,725,000, the proceeds of the scheme to defraud the lenders.
Blythe faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for conspiracy and bank fraud; and 30 years in prison for each of two counts of making a false statement to a bank. U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles has scheduled sentencing for December 14, 2015.
In a related case, Louis W. Strosnider, III, age 49, of Oakland, and Samuel R. VanSickle, a/k/a “Donald Blunt,” “Jacob Aiken,” “Allen Helms,” “Paul Walsh,” and “William Hall, Attorney,” age 51, of Accident, Maryland, were previously indicted on conspiracy and bank fraud charges. Strosnider previously pleaded guilty to his participation in the conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing. VanSickle has pleaded not guilty. An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI for its work in the investigation and thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Joyce K. McDonald and Philip A. Selden, who are prosecuting the case.