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Las Vegas Attorney Charged for Using Straw Buyers and False Information to Obtain Mortgages

(Source: FBI) - LAS VEGAS—Las Vegas attorney Stanley A. Walton, 54, has pleaded guilty to a charge brought against him in February 2011 that he participated in a scheme to obtain mortgage loans from financial institutions using straw buyers and false loan applications, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

Walton pleaded guilty on Wednesday, May 15, 2013, to one count of conspiracy to commit bank, mail, and wire fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan on August 20, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. Walton faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, and has agreed to the forfeiture of $750,000 in money or property in addition to restitution.

According to the guilty plea memorandum, from about September 22, 2004 through July 24, 2007, Walton conspired with others to fraudulently obtain residential mortgages in order to obtain proceeds from the mortgages for their personal use. Walton recruited straw buyers to purchase homes, while Walton intended to control the ownership interests of the homes, obtain proceeds from the mortgage loans for his own use, and later resell the house for a profit. Walton advised the straw buyers that he would use their names and credit to purchase the homes and would split the profits with them when the homes were re-sold. Walton held himself out to the straw buyers as an attorney with knowledge and skill in these types of transactions and intentionally did not disclose this plan or activity to the financial institution lenders. Walton made false statements in and caused co-schemers to make false statements in the straw buyers’ loan applications and supporting documents concerning the straw buyers’ income, assets, intent to occupy the homes, and other information. Walton also directed straw buyers to take steps to make it appear they intended to occupy the homes, such as placing utilities in their names. Walton caused loan proceeds to be paid to him by falsely claiming them as attorney’s fees, fraudulently diverting them through real estate agents, and fraudulently having payments made to his company, knowing that this information would be concealed from the lenders.

Walton and the co-schemers fraudulently purchased six homes in Henderson and three homes in Las Vegas. Walton admitted in his plea agreement that the loss caused by his criminal conduct was approximately $3.6 million.

Pamela Black, 65, a mortgage loan officer, also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank, mail, and wire fraud and was sentenced on July 26, 2012 to time served, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay approximately $1.2 million in restitution.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI, and the case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel R. Schiess and Kathryn C. Newman.

Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.


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