Garrett County Attorney Indicted in Bank Fraud Scheme
BALTIMORE, MD—A federal grand jury has indicted Angela M. Blythe, age 51, of Oakland, Maryland, on charges of conspiracy, bank fraud and making a false statement to a bank. The indictment was returned on December 16, 2014, and unsealed today.
The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to the four count indictment, Blythe was an attorney licensed to practice in Maryland and West Virginia, with an office in Oakland, Maryland. The indictment alleges that Blythe, who also acted as a settlement attorney for real estate transactions, participated in a scheme with Samuel R. VanSickle, to defraud financial institutions. Specifically, the indictment alleges that Blythe prepared deeds, mortgages and notes for VanSickle in false identities, then recorded those fraudulent documents in the official land records of Garrett County, Maryland and Preston County, West Virginia, which concealed VanSickle’s ownership and control of the properties. Blythe also allegedly conducted property settlements in which VanSickle participated as buyer, seller and/or borrower through the use of false identities, which Blythe concealed from the lenders. The indictment alleges that Blythe failed to conduct the settlement transactions as described on the settlement statement and paid over the seller’s proceeds as VanSickle directed.
The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of $1,725,000, alleged to be proceeds of the scheme to defraud the bank.
Blythe faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for the conspiracy and for the bank fraud; and 30 years in prison for each of two counts of making a false statement to a bank. An initial appearance has not yet been scheduled.
Samuel R. VanSickle, a/k/a “Donald Blunt,” “Jacob Aiken,” “Allen Helms,” “Paul Walsh,” and “William Hall, Attorney,” age 50, of Accident, Maryland, and Louis W. Strosnider, III, were previously indicted by a federal grand jury on conspiracy and bank fraud charges in a related case. VanSickle is scheduled to go to trial on March 16, 2015. On August 7, 2014, Strosnider pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and is scheduled for sentencing on April 9, 2015.
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. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Joyce K. McDonald, who is prosecuting the case.