Attorney sentenced to federal prison for real estate fraud

October 1, 2004

Georgia man laundered sham home loans through law firm

Inman News

An attorney in Georgia was sentenced last week to two years, nine months in prison for his involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme. Wayne Frazier, 46, was charged with conspiracy to commit bank, wire and bankruptcy fraud, identity theft and money laundering, according to Sally Quillian Yates, acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.

Frazier also was ordered to pay $593,337 in restitution, file tax returns for the past four years and surrender his law license, which had been suspended. Following his sentence, Frazier will undergo three years of supervised release.

Frazier pleaded guilty to charges in June for his role in a major mortgage fraud scheme that included laundering fraudulently obtained mortgage proceeds through his law firm account. In the scheme, which took place from April 1998 through September 1998, perpetrators contracted or arranged for the purchase of residential and commercial properties in Atlanta for resale at higher prices, according to the indictment. Co-conspirators, commonly referred to as "straw sellers," would falsely claim current ownership of these properties, to appear at the closings where the properties are sold to unqualified "straw borrowers," to disburse the sale proceeds at the direction of the defendant and his co-conspirators. On some occasions, they used the sale proceeds to purchase the same properties they previously sold.

Frazier filed false satisfaction, cancellation and assignment of security deeds on a number of properties, eliminating the security interest of legitimate lenders, by fraudulently transferring interest to a coconspirator's company or by showing the properties were free of all mortgage liens before obtaining additional mortgage loans on the properties.

Several of the new mortgage loans were obtained in stolen identities, including that of a dead woman.

According to the evidence, Frazier delayed foreclosure on certain properties without making regular mortgage loan payments by filing bankruptcy petitions in the name of the "straw borrowers," by listing properties with mortgage payments in default on the bankruptcy petitions of persons not on title and by transferring properties in the foreclosure process by Quit Claim Deeds to others for filing of bankruptcy petitions in their names as well.

Frazier and his coconspirators lived in a number of these properties and resold others with delinquent loan payments then in foreclosure proceedings or with foreclosure eminent to other unqualified "straw borrowers," according to evidence.

The fraud perpetrators also formed shell companies, including Si'nique, Si'nique Entertainment, Si'nique Limousine Service and Si'nique Development LLC, as employment for unqualified straw borrowers, as names for the establishment of bank accounts to receive scheme proceeds and as "mail drops" for scheme related correspondence.

Copyright 2004 Inman News

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