Criminal Justice News

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Appraiser Pleads Guilty in Mortgage Fraud Scheme


PITTSBURGH—A resident of McKeesport, Pennsylvania pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of wire fraud conspiracy, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Joel Reck, 47, of 2907 Jenny Lind Street, McKeesport, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Nora Barry Fischer.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Reck was an appraiser who participated in a mortgage fraud scheme by knowingly overstating the fair market values of properties serving as collateral for loans.

Judge Fischer scheduled sentencing for November 1, 2012. The law provides for a total sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Brendan T. Conway is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Mortgage Fraud Task Force conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Reck. The Mortgage Fraud Task Force is comprised of investigators from federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and others involved in the mortgage industry. Federal law enforcement agencies participating in the Mortgage Task Force include the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General; the United States Postal Inspection Service; and the United States Secret Service. Other Mortgage Fraud Task Force members include the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office; the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, Bureau of Consumer Protection; the Pennsylvania Department of Banking; the Pennsylvania Department of State, Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation; and the United States Trustee’s Office.

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