Six Defendants Charged in Separate Fraud Schemes to Obtain $2.7 Million in Mortgage, Student Aid, Bank, and Small Business Loans
CHICAGO—Six defendants are facing federal fraud charges involving separate schemes to obtain a total of more than $2.7 million through fraudulent statements in loan applications submitted to banks, mortgage lenders, several community colleges, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Small Business Administration since 2006. Five of the defendants were indicted together yesterday for scheming to fraudulently obtain more than $2.4 million. The sixth defendant, who alone was arrested today, was indicted separately for allegedly scheming to fraudulently obtain an additional $300,000 in mortgage fraud and student loan fraud. Both indictments stem from the same investigation of fraudulent loan applications.
In an alleged mortgage fraud scheme, three of the five defendants ― ANTHONY TRICE, then president of Fifty One 06 Property Management and Acquisitions, Inc., JERROD L. WEATHERSBY, a director and vice president of the defunct company, and NOREEN B. MIAN, then a licensed loan officer for Exclusive Bancorp., Inc., in Lincolnwood ― were charged with scheming with others between 2006 and 2011 to fraudulently obtain more than $2.1 million in mortgage loans for 14 properties in Chicago and suburban Burnham and Park Forest. According to the indictment, Trice, 34,of Chicago; Weathersby, 36, of Harvey; and Mian, 34, of Chicago, prepared and submitted false documents and made false statements to lenders about the buyers’ qualifications for the loans. Trice also allegedly made false statements in requests for loan modifications related to two of the properties.
In an alleged student loan fraud scheme between 2010 and 2012, Trice and Weathersby, together with WARREN K. TAYLOR, 35, and DAVID N. EDWARDS, 37, both of Chicago, were charged with fraudulently seeking to obtain approximately $240,000, and successfully obtaining approximately $135,000 by submitting at least 40 fraudulent applications for admission and federal student aid from Harper College, Elgin Community College, and Joliet Junior College. According to the indictment, the defendants knew that the applicants — some of whose identities were acquired by Trice and Weathersby in connection with an earlier credit card fraud scheme — had not agreed to be enrolled in college, were ineligible for financial aid, and did not intend to use the financial aid funds for educational purposes. The defendants allegedly caused the financial aid checks to be sent to certain addresses in Chicago and Park Forest, and that they then cashed the checks and used the proceeds for themselves and others.
In an alleged credit card fraud scheme between 2006 and 2008, Trice and Weathersby were charged with obtaining individuals’ personal identifying information by promising to help them improve their credit ratings and obtain money. According to the indictment, Trice and Weathersby then made false statements in applications for lines of credit and credit card accounts and, without the consent of the applicants, withdrew more than $145,000 from the lines of credit and credit card accounts. During the same time, they also allegedly fraudulently obtained a $35,000 bank loan, which was guaranteed by the Small Business Administration, and used the proceeds for personal purposes.
Trice was charged with six counts of mail fraud, five counts of wire fraud, three counts of bank fraud, and one count each of making false statements on loan applications, student loan fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Weathersby was charged with one count each of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Taylor was charged with four counts of mail fraud and one count each of aggravated identity theft and student loan fraud. Mian was charged with two counts of wire fraud and one count of making false loan application statements, and Edwards was charged with one count each of mail fraud and student loan fraud.
The indictment also seeks forfeiture of more than $2.41 million from Trice, Taylor, Mian, and Edwards. All five defendants will be arraigned on later date to be determined in U.S. District Court and an arrest warrant was issued for Edwards alone.
In a separate indictment, DERREK L. CAMPBELL, II, 34, of Chicago, was charged with two counts of making false loan application statements and one count each of wire fraud and student loan fraud for allegedly obtaining more than $300,000 through false statements to mortgage lenders between 2009 and 2013 in connection with purchasing two properties in 2009, obtaining federal student aid in 2011, and seeking a loan modification on one of the properties in 2013. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of $302,420.
Campbell was arrested today and was scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in Federal Court.
Each count of bank fraud, wire fraud affecting a financial institution, and making false loan application statements carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine; each count of mail fraud carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and student loan fraud carries a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory sentence of two years in prison consecutive to any other sentence and a $250,000 fine.
The charges were announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert J. Holley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, together with officials of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher R. McFadden.
An indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.