Saturday, July 14, 2012

Inver Grove Heights Man Indicted in Mortgage Fraud Scam

A federal indictment recently unsealed charges an Inver Grove Heights man in connection with soliciting buyers to purchase properties at inflated prices in a multi-million-dollar mortgage fraud scheme. On July 11, 2012, Christopher Jon Andrews, age 53, was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, four counts of mortgage fraud through interstate wire, and three counts of mortgage fraud through mail. The indictment, which was filed on July 10, 2012, was unsealed following Andrews’s initial appearance in federal court.

The indictment alleges that from 2005 through 2008, Andrews conspired with others to defraud mortgage lenders out of money by providing false information in order to receive loans. To that end, Andrews recruited straw buyers to purchase homes at inflated prices, purportedly using much of the excess loan funds for their personal use.

In preparing mortgage loan applications on behalf of the straw buyers, Andrews allegedly concealed the true financial conditions of those buyers. Moreover, he reportedly failed to disclose that the buyers would receive cash kickbacks from the loan proceeds and that the buyers were often not the source of the “cash to close” the transactions.

More than 30 properties were purchased by Andrews and his close relatives during the course of this scheme, with Andrews allegedly receiving millions in loan proceeds. The majority of the residences bought through this scheme have been since foreclosed, with the victim lenders losing substantial amounts of money.

Andrews conducted business under several names, including ACL Homes, LMA Real Estate Services, and CNC Management. He worked with associated companies operated by indicted co-conspirators Daniel Boler, Susanne Mathis, and Lindsay Loyear. Boler, Loyear, and Mathis have all pleaded guilty for their actions.

If convicted, Andrews faces a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each count. All sentences will be determined by a federal district court judge.

This case is the result of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Perzel.

This law enforcement action is in part sponsored by the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive attack on financial crimes. It includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement, who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch and, with state and local partners, investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.

An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.

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