HOUSTON—Lisa Carol Ross, 50, of Missouri City, Texas, has pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today, along with FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen L. Morris and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Special Agent in Charge Lucy Cruz.
Ross, an attorney and escrow officer for Vision Title LLC, and three others were indicted in 2011 for a scheme to defraud residential mortgage lenders. According to the indictment, the conspirators allegedly used fraudulent documents to help borrowers qualify for mortgage loans to purchase condominium units in the Commerce Towers building located on Main Street in downtown Houston, as well as residential homes in the Houston area. The indictment indicates the documents had false and misleading information about the borrowers’ income, assets, liabilities, employment status, bank deposits, rental payments, intent to use properties as a primary residence, and source of funds used to close the real estate transactions. Today, Ross admitted that she arranged for disbursements from the title company to be turned into cash and money orders and secretly distributed to the involved parties.
Ross is currently in custody on unrelated state charges, where she will remain pending sentencing in this case by U.S. District Judge Gray Miller on January 25, 2013. At that time, Ross faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The others charged in relation to this case are set to begin trial on December 3, 2012. They are presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.
The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the FBI, IRS-CI, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-Office of Inspector General, and Houston Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney John Lewis is prosecuting the case.