Monday, April 27, 2009

First Guilty Plea Related to Fraudulent Loans Funded by Failed Bank

MARK ANTHONY MCBRIDE, 43, a/k/a “Charles Conley,” “Charles Conley, Jr.,” and “Manuel Evans,” of East Point, Georgia, pleaded guilty April 24 in federal district court to a conspiracy to obtain millions of dollars in fraudulent mortgages and other loans and to a bankruptcy fraud designed to stay foreclosures on dozens of fraudulently obtained properties.

United States Attorney David E. Nahmias said, “We are moving with dispatch to review bank failures and to investigate and prosecute any frauds we find that were related to failed banks. This case is disturbing because dozens of banks, including the now-failed Omni National Bank, were damaged by this defendant's long-running conspiracy. Moreover, the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts in three states were abused by the defendant's eight fraudulent bankruptcy filings designed to delay property foreclosures and collection of scheme proceeds by his debtors.”

FDIC Office of Inspector General Special Agent in Charge, Southeast Region, C. Ed Slagle said, “It is a priority of the FDIC Office of Inspector General to investigate and assist the United States Attorneys' Offices in prosecuting offenses which relate or contribute to the failure of so many financial institutions.”

Martin D. Phanco, Inspector in Charge, U. S. Postal Inspection Service in Atlanta, said, “The U.S. Postal Inspection Service found this case to be especially disturbing due in part to the illegal use of the U. S. mails in furtherance of their fraudulent scheme; which, has ultimately led to the failure of so many banks. This overt criminal act is a prime example of the type of rampant financial fraud that currently exists within our society, and has subsequently contributed to the failure of the nation's economy. Make no mistake, this will not be tolerated or accepted by the American public nor the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.”

According to United States Attorney Nahmias and the information presented in court: In 2001, immediately after being released from prison, MCBRIDE began a mortgage fraud scheme that continued through 2002, when he had to report for service of another federal prison sentence. As soon as he was released again from prison in November 2006, MCBRIDE continued his fraud by completing fraudulent mortgage loans, vehicle loans, lines of credit, credit cards and other extensions of credit in his name, in his aliases, in a number of stolen identities, including those of his children, and in the identities of other unqualified borrowers. These fraudulent loans continued until MCBRIDE was arrested in September 2008 for violating his supervised release. Dozens of banks and other lenders, including the recently failed Omni National Bank, funded fraudulent loans for MCBRIDE.

MCBRIDE generated mortgage loan proceeds for himself using inflated valuations for properties, securing the loans and sharing those proceeds with his straw borrowers and other conspirators. He was able to retain proceeds from the frauds by filing eight bankruptcy cases in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina. The last such fraudulent filing was a May 2008 petition in Atlanta, filed in a bogus name and stolen Social Security Number. The petition falsely stated he had never filed bankruptcy in the past.

MCBRIDE was charged in a two-count Criminal Information filed today. The Information charged MCBRIDE with a conspiracy which encompasses the 10-year long fraud scheme and with one count of bankruptcy fraud. He pleaded guilty to those charges today. He could receive a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,250,000. In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 9, 2009, at 10 a.m., before United States District Judge Jack T. Camp.

This case is being investigated by the recently formed Northern District of Georgia Mortgage Fraud Task Force, comprised in this case of the U. S. Postal Inspection Service, HUD OIG, FDIC OIG and FBI, and assisted by the Office of the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee.

Assistant United States Attorneys Gale McKenzie and Chris Bly are prosecuting the case.

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