Two Plead Guilty to Defrauding AIG of Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars
DES MOINES, IA—Former Iowa resident Christina M. Pender and California resident Robert K. Taylor have pled guilty to defrauding insurance company AIG out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Taylor also pled guilty to making false statements to a financial institution involving a mortgage fraud scheme in California. Pender pled guilty on April 17, 2014, and Taylor pled guilty on August 27, 2014.
On May 21, 2013, a federal grand jury in the Southern District of Iowa indicted Pender and Taylor for wire fraud. From approximately April 1, 2010 to January 5, 2011, Pender and Taylor perpetrated a scheme whereby Pender, then an AIG insurance adjuster located in West Des Moines, Iowa, approved payments to companies owned by Taylor for expert services that were never provided. Taylor’s companies were based in California, where he resided, and included TEI Group Associates, Inc., TEI Group, Inc., and Equitable Consulting Solutions. Pender also approved payments for expert services that were not provided to another Iowa-based company, MDP Group, which was owned, in part, by her then-boyfriend. All of the alleged services were supposed to be for consulting in furtherance of AIG’s handling of construction defect claims that were in litigation. In total, Pender admitted that she approved approximately $925,406 in payments by AIG for services that were not provided. Taylor received $666,128.98 of those payments.
During the pendency of the prosecution for wire fraud, the Government discovered that Taylor was also part of a mortgage fraud scheme in California. From approximately December 2005 through April 2006, Taylor applied for and received mortgage loans and lines of credit that he used for the purchase and refinance of several real properties in Kingsburg, California. In his mortgage loan and line of credit applications for these properties, Taylor knowingly and fraudulently identified his social security number as a number which he knew was not his social security number in an effort to influence the approval and funding of the loans. Taylor ultimately defaulted on his payment obligations, and the Kingsburg properties were foreclosed. Then, on November 20, 2012, Taylor subsequently filed a petition for bankruptcy using the fraudulent social security number. As a result of Taylor’s false statements for the purpose of obtaining the mortgage loans and lines of credit, Taylor caused lending institutions, including Countrywide Bank, losses of $326,100. Taylor pled guilty to an Information charging him with making false statements to a financial institution.
Pender faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Taylor faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million.
The wire fraud case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.The case involving false statements to a financial institution was investigated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation—Office of Inspector General and prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern District of California and the Southern District of Iowa.