A South Carolina real estate agent who also was a loan officer was sentenced yesterday to 36 months in federal prison for a massive $45 million mortgage fraud scheme involving more than 70 properties, and a loss of more than $23 million suffered by financial institutions.

Scott M. Wickersham, age 36, of Summerville was convicted by a federal judge of Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud, and Bank Fraud, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349, and two counts of Willfully Making and Subscribing a False Tax Return, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7206(1), according to the USDOJ.

Wickersham had operated the fraud through his real estate and mortgage businesses in Summerville, South Carolina, under the names North American Mortgage Group, LLC; Realty Executives of Coastal Carolina; and New Freedom Enterprises, LLC. He was a loan officer for North American Mortgage Group, LLC; a real estate agent and part-owner/franchisee of Realty Executives of Coastal Carolina; and a partner in New Freedom Enterprises, LLC.

Wickersham and others used straw purchasers and made other false representations on mortgage loan applications for properties that were located in Charleston, Johns Island, Ladson, Mount Pleasant, Summerville, Edisto Island, St. Helena Island, Garden City, Murrells Inlet, Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Lake Keowee, and Tybee Island, Georgia. All the properties involved in the scam eventually were foreclosed upon.

The USDOJ said that Wickersham also willfully made and filed false U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns, Forms 1040, for calendar years 2006 and 2007. Both of those returns, which he filed late on January 27, 2009, were materially false because he willfully failed to report income he received from the mortgage fraud scheme.

Two other defendants have been convicted in connection with the mortgage fraud scheme. Steven F. Weiss, 67, of Virginia Beach, Virginia,  and Kelly Martin, 34, of Moncks Corner.

SOURCE: USDOJ

Erik Sandstrom
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