July 28, 2014

Shelby Township Man Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison for Mortgage Fraud

A Shelby Township was sentenced 14 years in prison following his conviction for mortgage fraud, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today.

McQuade was joined in the announcement by Paul Abbate, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

U.S. District Judge Stephen J. Murphy, III, also ordered Albert Greer, Sr., to pay restitution to the financial institutions and the individuals he defrauded. The sentence was imposed on July 26, 2014.

Greer was convicted at trial of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aiding and abetting bank fraud. Evidence at the trial showed that from 2004 through 2007, Greer devised and executed a scheme to commit bank fraud by locating residential properties in the Detroit metropolitan area, then recruiting and paying “straw buyers” to sign for mortgage loans. The straw buyers never intended to repay the loans or live in the homes. Greer often made the mortgage payments on the loans for several months so that the lenders would not immediately realize that the loans had been obtained by fraud. He then defaulted on the loans and allowed the properties to go into foreclosure.

Greer’s co-conspirator submitted fraudulent loan applications to various financial institutions on behalf of the straw buyers. The applications were filled with material false representations, and supported by false documents that Greer created, including W-2s, earnings statements and verifications of deposit. Greer attempted to insulate himself from criminal liability by acting through the straw buyers and through shell companies, including Detroit National Mortgage Associates, that established in the names of his family members. Greer also had his family members open bank accounts in their names, which he used to launder the proceeds of his crimes.

Judge Murphy explained that one of the factors he considered in sentencing was that in addition to his fraud, Greer also stole proceeds by submitting bogus invoices for “consulting fees” that he claimed were owed to Detroit National Mortgage Associates. Greer used this scheme to steal $167,844 from a 90-year-old homeowner who sold a home in Detroit in 2005 and to steal from other victims.

“Albert Greer’s conduct was the equivalent of bank robbery, but he used lies and false statements rather than a gun or a mask,” McQuade said. “White collar criminals deserve to be seen as the robbers that they are. This lengthy sentence may deter others from thinking that mortgage fraud is an easy way to make money.”

The investigation of this case was conducted by special agents of the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Oberg.