Mont. Man Convicted in Las Vegas Mortgage Fraud Case - 8 News NOW

Mont. Man Convicted in Las Vegas Mortgage Fraud Case

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LAS VEGAS -- A federal jury convicted a Montana resident Wednesday of wire fraud in connection with Las Vegas area mortgage fraud, Nevada's U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said.

Nicholas Lindsey, 40, of Billings, Mont., was convicted of nine counts of wire fraud in addition to a single count of aggravated identity theft. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 22 by Senior U.S. District Judge Lloyd George and faces up to 30 years of prison on each wire fraud count. 

Lindsey also faces two years in prison on the aggravated identity theft count, and he faces fines of up to $1 million on each count. He was detained pending sentencing.

"Many innocent homeowners in Nevada have suffered because of this type of crime involving fraudulent residential mortgage transactions," Bogden said. "Since 2008 when the FBI and our office made mortgage fraud prosecutions a priority, we have investigated, charged and convicted hundreds of persons for federal mortgage fraud crimes and most of them are now serving time in federal prison."

According to the indictment and trial evidence, Lindsey worked as a loan officer for Clear Mortgage and Signature Mortgage, and recruited straw buyers in 2006 to participate in what he described as a lucrative real estate investment opportunity by purchasing five homes in the Las Vegas area.  

Jurors were told that Lindsey secured more than $3 million in mortgage loans by causing to be placed in the straw buyers' mortgage loan applications false information concerning their income, assets, and intent to occupy the homes.  It was also disclosed at trial that once the mortgages were approved, Lindsey fraudulently diverted to his bank account a portion of the proceeds disbursed from escrow and used those funds for his own benefit. Lindsey realized additional profits by living in or renting out properties in the buyers' names.

Lindsey also was accused of stealing two buyers' identities and using their personal information to purchase three additional properties in their names. The evidence established that Lindsey leased and collected rental income from two of these properties and used the third property as his own residence. After collecting profits, Lindsey stopped making mortgage payments on the properties and allowed all eight homes to default in the borrowers' names, causing an estimated loss to lenders of $1.6 million.

The case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christina Brown and Justice Department trial attorney Brian Young.


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