Title Company Manager Sentenced to More Than Four Years in Prison in $4.8 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme
BALTIMORE—U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar sentenced Bonnie Kathleen Kreamer, a/k/a Bonnie Meehan, age 49, of Riva, Maryland, on April 25, 2014, to 51 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiring to commit wire fraud in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme that resulted in losses of more than $4.8 million. Judge Bredar also ordered Kreamer to pay restitution of $2,499,048 to the victims and to forfeit $4.8 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According to her plea agreement, in 2002, Kreamer’s Maryland license to issue title insurance policies was revoked after she was convicted of theft for fraudulently endorsing checks at a title attorney’s office where she worked. Despite her conviction, from 2007 until January 2010, Kreamer worked at Sanford Title Services LLC located in Columbia, Maryland, and had significant day-to-day responsibility for the operation of Sanford Title. From June 2008 to January 2010, Kreamer and co-conspirators Niesha Williams, Rhonda Scott, Emeka Udeze, and Demetrius Peete arranged various aspects of real estate transactions so they could siphon profits out of the transaction for themselves. They used many fraudulent techniques to further the conspiracy, including short sales in which the property was sold for a higher price than was represented to the lien holder and the seller; sales of properties not owned by the seller at the time of settlement; real estate transactions in which there were multiple sales of the same property at the same time; real estate transactions in which the buyer’s financial status was misrepresented to lenders; and transactions in which the seller and/or buyer were shown different settlement statements and the conspirators used the difference between the figures in the two statements to enrich themselves.
In addition, Kreamer admitted that she personally facilitated deals between her co-conspirators, prepared false settlement statements, improperly disbursed funds contrary to the settlement and lender approved disbursements sheets, failed to pay off mortgage loans in accordance with the settlement documents, directed funds to entities created by herself and her co-conspirators, received proceeds of fraudulent transactions, and improperly issued title insurance policies.
Kreamer admitted that the scheme involved at least 30 victims, including lenders, sellers, and buyers of real estate; a title insurance company; and lien holders. She further agreed that her offense involved sophisticated means and her abuse of a position of trust at Sanford Title. The reasonably foreseeable loss associated with Kreamer’s conduct is at least $4.8 million.
Niesha Williams, age 34, of Fort Washington, Maryland; Rhonda Scott, age 52, of Oxon Hill, Maryland; Demetrius Peete, age 46, of Manassas, Virginia, each previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the fraud and are scheduled to be sentenced on May 1, May 2, and May 7, respectively. Gregory Green, age 49, of Waldorf, Maryland, also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $404,596. A fifth conspirator, Emeka Udeze, age 38, of Bowie, Maryland, also pleaded guilty and is awaiting 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 prosecutions is available www.justice.gov/usao/md/Mortgage Fraud/index.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 is 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. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants, including more than 2,700 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.