An Illinois loan officer was arraigned this week for his alleged role in a $7 million reverse mortgage scam that targeted lenders and elderly homeowners, according to the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ).
The defendant, Mark Steven Diamond, a loan officer with offices in Chicago and Calumet City, used his position to target his elderly victims in a home repair and loan fraud scheme.
The USDOJ said that Diamond fraudulently caused lenders to make reverse-mortgage loans to homeowners who did not know of the scheme or did so after Diamond lied to them about the loan terms.
Diamond used his connections as a loan officer with title company representatives to have the loan proceed checks made to him instead of the actual homeowners. As a result of the scam, he pocketed approximately $7 million.
The USDOJ said that Diamond who is 60 years old and from Chicago pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday to seven counts of wire fraud. U.S. District Judge Robert M. Dow Jr. scheduled a status hearing for Aug. 28, 2017, at 9:00 a.m.
According to the indictment, Diamond targeted elderly homeowners with sufficient equity in their homes whose age ranged from 62 to 97.
Diamonds accomplice, Cynthia Wallace, 47, of Chicago was also indicted. Wallace role in the scheme was to market to homeowners in order to have Diamond perform home repairs, knowing that Diamond would not actually perform the work, the indictment states.
The USDOJ said that Wallace, who used the aliases “Shree Box,” “Regina Johnson,” and “Sherry Rice,” also posed as a representative of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to fraudulently obtain money from victims, the indictment states.
Wallace has pleaded not guilty to nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of falsely pretending to be an employee of the United States.
The courts seek a forfeiture of $7 million from Diamond. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.