(Source: By Jared Hunt, Charleston Daily Mail, W.Va.) – CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A real estate appraiser who once held an appointed position in West Virginia state government faces up to 30 years in federal prison for falsifying appraisal records in North Carolina.
Larry Max McDaniel, 69, of Parkersburg pleaded guilty to making false statements to financial institutions and aiding and abetting last week in U.S. District Court in Raleigh, N.C.
McDaniel, the former head of the West Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board, was indicted last August on charges stemming from a fraudulent loan conspiracy. He also served on the board’s disciplinary committee and taught courses at West Virginia University in the 1990s. In 2004, he became a Certified National Instructor for appraisals.
McDaniel admitted to cooperating in a scheme organized by the head of a development firm called AP LLC.
The head of that company, referred to in court documents only as “JTW,” allegedly promised investors that he and AP LLC would use their money to buy homes at a low cost, renovate them and then sell them to first-time home buyers for a higher value.
Prosecutors said McDaniel worked with a business associate named Jackie Gale Weaver Jr. to prepare false appraisal reports for the properties.
Weaver, who was not a licensed appraiser, would use McDaniel’s name and appraiser’s seal to draft appraisal reports on AP LLC properties. Investigators said measurements, sketches, and photographs of supposed renovations were either supplied by third parties or by AP LLC officials themselves.
The appraisals claimed McDaniel conducted physical inspections of the properties and interviewed the owners, but authorities found no evidence McDaniel ever visited the North Carolina properties or conducted interviews.
In spite of that, McDaniel still regularly invoiced and received payment from AP LLC for each of the appraisals.
Indictments alleged that McDaniel and Weaver falsified as many as 200 appraisals in this fashion between late 2002 and May 2006.
Weaver pleaded guilty to conspiring to make false statements to influence financial institutions last September. His sentencing hearing has been set for Aug. 6.
An appraiser since 1975, McDaniel has been a prominent name in the state appraisal industry.
He has been under fire in civil lawsuits for allegedly inflating appraisals to benefit mortgage companies. McDaniel agreed to step down from the state appraisers board as a result of one of those lawsuits.
Officials with the local U.S. Attorney’s office in the Eastern District of North Carolina declined to comment further on the case.
McDaniel is scheduled to appear before Chief District Judge James Dever III Sept. 17 for sentencing. He faces up to 30 years in prison followed by up to five years supervised release and a maximum $250,000 fine.
©2012 Charleston Daily Mail (Charleston, W.Va.)
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