Las Vegas Sun

August 31, 2014

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Crime:

After costing financial institutions about $3.5 million, California man sentenced for role in Las Vegas mortgage scam

A federal judge has sentenced a California man to five and a half years in prison for his involvement in a mortgage scam orchestrated in Las Vegas.

George Anderson, 55, of Copperopolis, Calif., was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hunt, and three years of supervised release and a penalty of $3.5 million in restitution were added to the prison term.

Anderson was indicted in March 2011 and pled guilty in April to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

“During the mid- to late 2000s, thousands of fraudulent residential mortgage transactions in Nevada caused financial hardships for many innocent homeowners and hundreds of millions of dollars of loss to financial institutions and investors,” U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said in a statement. “We made this type of fraud a priority and through the end of 2012 had prosecuted 213 persons, most of who were convicted and sent to prison.”

In 2005, Anderson recruited four straw buyers to purchase seven houses in Henderson and one house in Las Vegas, which Anderson would re-sell them for a profit, according to the plea agreement.

Anderson worked with Andrew Swan, 38, of Heyworth, Ill., who purchased the houses from the straw buyers at inflated prices. Swan then received a portion of the profit from each sale and also convinced a relative to purchase several of the homes again at even higher prices.

According to the agreement, Swan and Anderson submitted false information to lenders and an escrow company to get loans and then disbursed the loan proceeds to Swan’s company, Creative Capital Group, and Anderson’s company, Anderson Financial Group.

Creative Capital Group received between $54,000 and $86,000 from the sale of each home, Anderson Financial Group reaped $67,000 to $164,000 from each sale, and the original straw buyers took $19,000 to $69,000 per person. Most of the mortgage payments for the homes were not paid and the houses went into foreclosure. At least 16 mortgage loans totaling approximately $6.5 million were obtained in the scam, and the financial institutions lost approximately $3.5 million.

Swan also pled guilty and was sentenced in June to 30 months in prison and was ordered to pay $3.5 million in restitution.

Anderson and Swan are both free on bond and must self-report to federal prison by Oct. 25 and Aug. 16, respectively.

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