Three of 10 Sentenced in Mortgage Fraud Investigation

November 2, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — Three of 10 defendants charged in a mortgage fraud case were sentenced yesterday in Boise by U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced. Michael J. Hymas, 59, formerly of Boise, Idaho, was sentenced to 21 months in prison, three years of supervised release, 80 hours of community service, and $544,647 in restitution for wire fraud. Hymas pled guilty to the charge in March 2010. Shauntee K. Ferguson, 33, of Boise, Idaho, was sentenced to five years of supervised release, 80 hours of community service, and $365,829.69 in restitution for making a false atatement to a financial institution. Ferguson pled guilty to the charge in June 2010. Christopher R. Georgeson, 30, formerly of Boise, Idaho, currently of Phoenix, Arizona, was sentenced to one month in prison, three years’ supervised release,11 months of home detention, and $103,356.64 in restitution for wire fraud. Georgeson pled guilty to the charge in March 2010. Four other defendants have pled guilty to a variety of charges and are awaiting sentencing, one defendant has been sentenced, and two other defendants are awaiting trial.

According to an indictment filed in December 2009, Michael Hymas was an insurance agent in Meridian, Idaho, and a silent partner with Stanley Ferguson, Michael Hymas’s son-inlaw, and Shauntee Ferguson, Michael Hymas’s daughter, in the buying and selling of real estate, or “flipping” of real estate, in order to gain profits from the sales. In 2002, Hymas filed a bankruptcy petition and as a result, had difficulty obtaining credit from financial institutions and mortgage lenders. As part of their scheme to defraud and obtain money by false pretenses, Michael Hymas, Shauntee Ferguson and Stanley Ferguson falsely inflated their monthly personal income and falsely claimed rental income, falsely stated that residences would be used as primary residences when in fact they were intended as investment properties only, falsely represented the employment status of Shauntee Ferguson, and falsely provided bank accounts as a source of funding. They submitted the fraudulent documents to loan brokers. As a result, between 2004 and 2006, they caused the financial institutions and mortgage lenders to fund approximately 21 fraudulent loans for an approximate total value of $7.59 million dollars. The financial institutions and mortgage lenders incurred losses of approximately $1.6 million dollars.

According to the Michael Hymas’ plea agreement, on November 19, 2004, Shauntee Ferguson applied for a residential construction loan in the approximate amount of $337,250. The residence was intended for investment purposes only by Michael Hymas, Shauntee Ferguson and Stanley Ferguson. It was not intended for personal occupancy, as misrepresented on the loan application. After the residence was completed and sold, Hymas and the Fergusons shared in the profits from the sale. In order to obtain the loan, Michael Hymas and Shauntee Ferguson provided false information to the mortgage company. Hymas caused a false rental agreement to be prepared, falsely representing he was paying the borrower, Shauntee Ferguson, rental income of $2,500 per month. He also misrepresented that Ferguson was the marketing manager at his insurance company, that she’d been employed there for three years, and that she earned $9,000 per month. Hymas caused an employee at his insurance agency to confirm these misrepresentations when Ferguson’s employment was verified. Hymas also caused Ferguson’s name to be placed on his checking account so that the checking account was represented on her loan application as a personal asset with a value of approximately $31, 000. Based on the misrepresentations, the funding on the residential loan was authorized.

According to the Shauntee Ferguson plea agreement, on November 16, 2005, Shauntee Ferguson applied for a residential construction loan in the approximate amount of $520,000. On her loan application, Ferguson falsely stated that she had a monthly income of $10,000 and was employed as the marketing manager at an insurance agency. In fact, she was not employed and had no monthly income. Ferguson also claimed she had an account balance of approximately $102, 000 when in fact her name was placed on the account to give the appearance that she had access to the funds. Ferguson also falsely represented on the loan application that she planned to occupy the residence as her primary residence when in fact the property was intended solely for investment purposes. Based on the misrepresentations, the funding on the residential loan was authorized.

According to the Christopher Georgeson plea agreement, on November 21, 2006, Georgeson applied for a residential construction loan in the approximate amount of $292,000. On his loan application, Georgeson falsely stated he had a monthly income of $41,666.67 when in fact he had monthly income of approximately $8,000. Georgeson also falsely stated he had gross rental income of $2,300 per month when in fact he had no rental income. Based on these misrepresentations, the funding on the residential loan was authorized. At the loan closing, $93,000 was paid to Crestwood, Inc. The property was subsequently the subject of a foreclosure proceeding due to non-payment of the monthly mortgage by Georgeson.

Stanley J. Ferguson, 33, of Boise, Idaho, pled guilty to Wire Fraud in May 2010. According to the plea agreement, on June 29, 2006, Ferguson applied for a residential construction loan in the approximate amount of $1,499,999, for a residence in Eagle, Idaho. On his loan application, Ferguson falsely stated he had a monthly base employment income of $23,500 when in fact he had no monthly base employment income. Ferguson also falsely stated he had gross rental income of $2,138.50 per month when in fact he had no rental income. He falsely stated that the property would be his primary residence. Based on these misrepresentations, the funding on the residential loan was authorized. At the loan closing, a sum of money was paid to Crestwood, Inc. The property was subsequently the subject of a foreclosure proceeding due to non-payment of the monthly mortgage by Ferguson. Ferguson faces a maximum sentence of twenty years in federal prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and supervised release of up to three years. Sentencing is set for November 29, 2010, before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge in Boise.

Brent Bethers, 37, of Eagle, Idaho, was sentenced on September 20, 2010, to one month in prison, eleven months of home detention, three years of supervised release, $23,913 in restitution, and a fine of $6000 for Wire Fraud. Bethers pled guilty to the charge in March 2010. According to the plea agreement, Bethers was a loan officer in Meridian, Idaho. In June 2006, Stanley Ferguson approached Bethers regarding financing for a residence in Eagle, Idaho. Bethers prepared a loan application on which he falsely represented that Ferguson had monthly income of $25,638 per month when in fact Ferguson’s monthly income was substantially less than this amount. Bethers also represented on the loan application that Ferguson intended to occupy the residence as his “primary residence” when in fact the property was for investment purposes. The mortgage company relied upon these false representations and authorized a loan of approximately $1.5 million to Ferguson.

Travis Hymas, 27, formerly of the Boise area, currently of Cedar Hills, Utah, pled guilty to False Statement to a Bank in March 2010. According to the plea agreement, on March 28, 2007, Hymas applied for a residential construction loan in the amount of $154,800 for a residence in Nampa, Idaho. On his loan application, Hymas falsely stated he had a monthly gross income of $15,000 when in fact he had a monthly gross income of approximately $3,000. He also falsely represented that he had personal property with a value of approximately $100,000. Based on these misrepresentations, the funding on the residential loan was authorized. Hymas faces a maximum sentence of thirty years in federal prison, a fine of up to $1,000,000, and supervised release of up to five years. Sentencing is set for December 15, 2010, before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge in Boise.

Shane Hymas, 32, formerly of the Boise area, currently of American Fork, Utah, and Laurie Krechelle Hymas, 31, formerly of the Boise area, currently of American Fork, Utah, both pled guilty to Bank Fraud in April 2010. According to the plea agreements, on August 23, 2006, Shane and Laurie Hymas applied for refinancing on a loan in the amount of $104,500 for a residence in Star, Idaho. On their loan application, the Hymas’s falsely stated they had a combined monthly gross income in the amount of $33,000 when in fact they had a monthly gross income of between $10,000 and $15,000. They also falsely represented that they had gross monthly rental income of $2,550 when in fact they had no rental income. Based on these misrepresentations, the funding on the residential loan was authorized. They each face a maximum sentence of thirty years in federal prison, a fine of up to $1,000,000, and supervised release of up to five years. Sentencings for both defendants are set for January 18, 2011, before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge in Boise.

“Mortgage fraud and other irregularities in the housing industry contributed significantly to Idaho’s and this nation’s economic struggles,” said Wendy J. Olson, United States Attorney. “These cases demonstrate again that federal and state law enforcement agencies and prosecutors will work together to bring to justice those whose lies undermine the integrity of the housing financing system.”

Paul Redondo, 33, of Meridian, Idaho, and Melody C. Redondo, 32, of Meridian, Idaho, were indicted in October 2010 for multiple counts of Bank Fraud, Wire Fraud, and False Statement to a Financial Institution. According to the indictment, in March through August 2009, Melody Redondo, a licensed real estate agent, failed to disclose multiple offers to a mortgage company on a short-sale residential property, failed to disclose a duo-contract with simultaneous closings on the same real estate transaction, and forged a quitclaim deed and personally notarized the forged deed. The indictment also alleges that the Redondo’s fraudulently overstated their monthly income and falsely represented rental income on multiple loan applications. In May 2009, the Redondo’s filed a joint bankruptcy petition and discharged approximately $1,429,000 in debts. A trial is scheduled for January 10, 2011, before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill in Boise. An indictment is a means of charging a person with criminal activity. It is not evidence. The person is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office and the State of Idaho, Office of the Attorney General.

Contact:
United States Attorney’s Office
District of Idaho
Contact: (208) 334-1211

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