Eric Hill, 52, of Tyrone, Georgia, an Atlanta real estate agent, has received a sentence For Mortgage Fraud Schemes
For his involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme that resulted in more than $21 million in fraudulent mortgage loans, Eric Hill, 52, of Tyrone, Georgia, an Atlanta real estate agent, has received a sentence.
The defendants took part in a scheme where homebuyers and real estate agents submitted false loan applications in order to persuade mortgage lenders to fund mortgages, according to the charges and other information presented in court. Real estate brokers Robert Kelske and Eric Hill worked for a well-known national home builder.
More than 100 fraudulent homebuyers who were looking to purchase a home but were not eligible for a mortgage were assisted by Hill and Kelske. The agents gave the homebuyers advice on what kinds of assets to declare as having been deposited in the bank and what kinds of employment and income to include in their mortgage applications.
In order to inflate the homebuyers’ assets and make bank entries that appeared to be made by a chosen employer for the real estate agent, Hill and Kelske worked with several document forgers, including the defendants Fawziyyah Connor and Stephanie Hogan.
In order to give the impression that the homebuyer was employed and receiving income from a fictitious employer, the document fabricators also created fake earnings statements that matched the direct deposit entries.
Then, other players in the scheme took on the role of employment verifiers and responded to lender emails or phone calls to erroneously confirm the homebuyers’ employment. Defense witnesses included Jerod Little, Renee Little, Maurice Lawson, Todd Taylor, Paige McDaniel, and Donald Fontenot. In order to ensure consistency in the lies told to the lenders, Hill and Kelske coordinated the fabrication and submission of the false information.
In a different part of the scheme, real estate agents Anthony Richard and Cephus Chapman and Hill and Kelske colluded to pretend to represent homebuyers as their selling agents in order to profit from the home sales by paying commissions. The homebuyers these real estate agents claimed to represent had never even been introduced to them.
To avoid being discovered, the agents frequently sent wire instructions for the receipt of their commissions and informed the closing attorneys that they would not be present for the home closing. When these alleged selling agents received their unearned commissions, they gave the majority of the money back to Hill or Kelske for making it possible for them to be included in the deal while keeping a small portion for their part in the scheme.
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured many of the fraudulent loans, which led to over $850,000 in claims being paid for mortgages that have fallen behind on payments. Hill also participated in a scheme to cheat his employer, a big-name real estate developer, out of over $480,000 in commissions on sales.
Hill received a two-year, six-month prison term with an additional three years of supervised release. On September 21, 2020, Hill was found guilty of these charges after entering a guilty plea.
Defendants Donald Fontenot, Maurice Lawson, Stephanie Hogan, Jerod Little, Renee Little, Paige McDaniel, Fawziyyah Connor, and Anthony Richard have all received sentences for their participation in the conspiracies in addition to Hill.
- Todd Taylor entered a guilty plea and will receive his punishment on March 3, 2022.
- Additionally guilty, Robert Kelske will be sentenced on April 14, 2022.
- Cephus Chapman was found guilty at the conclusion of his trial, and his sentencing is set for February 10, 2022.
According to U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine, Eric Hill and his accomplices defrauded mortgage loan holders out of millions of dollars, with the taxpayer bearing the brunt of the loss. Mortgage fraudsters who enrich themselves at the expense of financial institutions and government programmes that insure or guarantee the loans will face stern legal action, according to the statement.
Although it is simple to write off financial fraud cases as victimless crimes due to their lack of violence, Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, noted that there is very real victimisation to our economy and our taxpayers. This sentence sends a clear message that the FBI will continue to fight to defend American citizens and the housing market against predators who undermine our economy by lying for their own benefit.
“Eric Hill committed premeditated crimes with the sole intention of enriching himself, disregarding the millions of Americans who depend on federal housing programmes to insure their mortgages, said the prosecution.
According to Special Agent in Charge Wyatt Achord of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General, the FHA’s financial integrity is not the only thing at risk from this fraudster’s actions; also at risk are our communities’ neighbours and residents who fall prey to his schemes.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG) is dedicated to holding those responsible for fraud in the housing and mortgage industries as well as abuse of the resources of the GSEs it regulates. Edwin S. Bonano, Special Agent-in-Charge, FHFA-OIG, Southeast Region, said, “We are pleased to have collaborated with HUD-OIG, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia in this case.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Office of Inspector General of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development all looked into this case.
The prosecution team included former Northern District of Georgia Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Huschka, Assistant U.S. Attorneys David A. O’Neal, Alison B. Prout, and David A. O’Neal.