Criminal Justice News

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Las Vegas Top Stories: Man Who Fraudulently Purchased Over 20 Houses in Las Vegas Area Convicted of Federal Mortgage Fraud Charges

LAS VEGAS—A Las Vegas man who recruited straw buyers and used fictitious identities to purchase more than 20 houses in the Las Vegas area in order to obtain millions of dollars of cash from the loan proceeds was convicted by a jury today of conspiracy and fraud charges, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

Following a seven-day trial, Tarl Brandon, 46, of Las Vegas, was convicted of three counts of conspiracy and 15 counts of wire fraud. Brandon was convicted in three separate cases, which were joined for trial. Brandon faces up 30 years in prison on two conspiracy counts and 20 years in prison on each of the remaining 16 counts, as well as up to $1 million in fines on two counts and $250,000 in fines on the remaining 16 counts. Sentencing is scheduled for September 12, 2012 before U.S. District Judge Kent J. Dawson.

Brandon was resident agent and a managing member of KTB Construction Company, an LLC formed in Nevada. Between June 2004 and March 2008, Brandon and his co-conspirators paid persons to act as straw buyers to apply for mortgage loans to purchase real estate in Las Vegas. Brandon and his co-conspirators also created false identities for their straw buyers. In most instances, they had the straw buyers apply for mortgages for more than one house at a time and concealed from the lenders that they were purchasing more than one property. To induce the lenders to fund the loans, Brandon caused the loan applications and supporting documentation to include false and fraudulent information concerning the straw buyers’ income, assets, employment, and intent to occupy the home. Once the financial institutions funded the loans, the escrow companies made disbursements to Brandon’s shell company, KTB Construction, and paid commissions and fees to co-conspirators who worked in the real estate industry as loan officers. After buying the houses, Brandon failed to make payments on the mortgages and allowed most of them to go into foreclosure. Using this scheme, Brandon engaged in more than 20 different fraudulent mortgage transactions, resulting in total losses to the financial institutions of approximately $8 million.

Three co-defendants pleaded guilty, two of whom testified for the government at trial.

The investigation was led by the FBI and other agencies of the Southern Nevada Mortgage Fraud Task Force, including the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Secret Service, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, and Office of the Inspector General for the Social Security Administration. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Brian Pugh and Kathryn Newman.

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