Virginia Man Cary McEntee Pleads Guilty in Lansing Mortgage Fraud Probe
GRAND RAPIDS, MI—U.S. Attorney Patrick A. Miles announced today that Cary McEntee, 58, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, pled guilty today to a federal conspiracy charge stemming from fraudulent real estate transactions he engaged in during 2006 and 2007. The criminal conduct occurred in Lansing, Michigan and was related to real estate transactions in Newport News, Virginia.
On April 10, 2015, a felony information was filed against McEntee charging him with a conspiracy to commit bank fraud. The charge describes a scheme in which McEntee and his unnamed co-conspirators in Lansing defrauded banks in connection with 35 mortgage transactions involving more than $4,000,000 in loans. The scheme involved the use of “straw buyers” who, for a fee, would pose as the borrower and apply for a mortgage loan, but who had no intention of paying the mortgage. Once the loan was made, the proceeds were turned over to the conspirators, who used them to enrich themselves. McEntee and his coconspirators falsified income and asset information for these straw buyers in order to induce the targeted banks to make the loans. The mortgage loans went unpaid and the lending banks lost over $2,600,000 when the properties went into foreclosure. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum possible penalty of five years in prison, three years of supervision after release, a fine, and restitution.
McEntee appeared before Magistrate Judge Hugh W. Brenneman today and admitted that he was guilty of the charge. The defendant acknowledged that he had reached a plea agreement with the government in which he would plead guilty to the charge in exchange for a chance at a more lenient sentence from Judge Robert Holmes Bell. McEntee described in detail how he participated in the scheme to defraud the banks induced to provide mortgage loans, and that led Magistrate Judge Brenneman to recommend that he be found guilty. The defendant was released on bond pending sentencing. No sentencing date has yet been set by Judge Bell’s chambers.
McEntee’s prosecution is the result of a continuing investigation by the Mortgage Fraud Task Force, comprised of federal investigators including the FBI, U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the HUD Office of Inspector General. The task force also includes the Lansing Police Department, investigators employed by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office and other state agencies. To date, 16 individuals have been successfully prosecuted as a result of the grand jury probe into Lansing-area mortgage fraud.