11 defendants pleaded guilty to running a brazen multi-year mortgage fraud program on Metro Atlanta.
According to the US Attorney’s Office, the company started more than four years ago and resulted in the approval of more than 100 mortgages based on forged documents and false information. Many of the mortgages had to be paid by the federal housing administration after the borrowers defaulted.
A US attorney general said homebuyers and real estate agents worked together to submit fraudulent loan applications to mortgage lenders.
Federal prosecutors said listing agents Eric Hill and Robert Kelske represented a large statewide home builder.
The program began by meeting with more than 100 unqualified homebuyers, letting them know what type of assets they would need for their applications and what type of employment and income they would need to submit to get their applications approved.
The agents then coordinated with several document producers, including Defendants Fawziyyah Connor and Stephanie Hogan, who modified homebuyers’ bank statements to inflate their fortunes and created fake bank entries that reflected false direct deposits from a real estate agent-selected employer, a US spokesman -Lawyer.
In addition, the U.S. Attorney’s Office found that the document makers also created fake profit and loss statements that matched the direct deposit entries to create the impression that the homebuyers were busy and making income from a fake employer.
Once the documents were in place, other participants in the program acted as employment auditors, answering phone calls or emails from lenders to falsely verify the homebuyers’ employment.
Federal prosecutors said Anthony Richard, a real estate agent, falsely claimed to represent homebuyers as their sales agent so that he could receive commissions on home sales. In reality, according to a US attorney spokesman, Richard had never met the homebuyers he claimed to be representing.
To get around the process, Richard notified the final attorneys that he would not be able to attend the shutdown and then sent wired instructions for receiving his commissions.
After Richard received his undeserved assignments, he dumped most of the assignments on Hill or Kelske and then kept a small stake for his role on the program, a spokesman said.
The following defendants plead guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States:
• Eric Hill, 50, of Tyrone, Georgia
• Robert Kelske, 52, from Smyrna, Georgia
• Fawziyyah Connor, 41, from Tyrone, Georgia
• Stephanie Hogan, 57, from Norcross, Georgia
• Jerod Little, 42, of McDonough, Georgia
• Renee Little, 33, of McDonough, Georgia
• Maurice Lawson, 36, of Powder Springs, Georgia
• Todd Taylor, 54, of Fairburn, Georgia
• Paige McDaniel, 49, of Stockbridge, Georgia
• Donald Fontenot, 52, of Locust Grove, Georgia
• Anthony Richard, 44, of Locust Grove, Georgia
A twelfth defendant, Cephus Chapman, 49, of Warner Robins, Ga., Is awaiting trial.
The defendants have not been convicted and have agreed to refund the government.