LAS VEGAS -- A federal judge issued a 5 1/2-year prison sentence Thursday to a California man who orchestrated a mortgage fraud scheme involving eight houses in the Las Vegas area, Nevada's U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said.
George Anderson, 55, of Copperopolis, Calif., also was ordered by Senior U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt to pay more than $3.5 million in restitution. Anderson was indicted in March 2011 and pleaded guilty last April to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
"During the mid- to late 2000's, 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," Bogden said. "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."
According to the plea agreement, Anderson solicited four straw buyers in 2005 to buy seven houses in Henderson and one in Las Vegas with the understanding that he would control the houses and re-sell them at a profit. Anderson solicited co-defendant Andrew Swan, 38, of Heyworth, Ill., to buy the houses from the straw buyers at inflated prices in exchange for Swan receiving a portion of the profit from each sale.
Swan then recruited a relative to purchase several of the homes again at inflated prices. False information was submitted to the lenders and escrow company with disbursement of the loan proceeds going to Swan's company, Creative Capital Group, and Anderson's company, Anderson Financial Group.
Roughly $54,000 to $86,000 from the sale of each home was dispersed to Creative Capital Group, and an estimated $67,000 to $164,000 from each sale was transferred to Anderson Financial Group. An additional $19,000 to $69,000 was dispersed to each original straw buyer. Most of the mortgage payments were not paid and the homes went into foreclosure. At least 16 mortgage loans totaling $6.5 million were obtained as part of the conspiracy, and the financial institutions suffered a loss of roughly $3.5 million.
Swan also pleaded guilty and was sentenced in June to 30 months in prison. He also was ordered to pay $3.5 million in restitution.
Anderson and Swan are out on bond and must report to federal prison by Oct. 25 and Aug. 16 respectively.
The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah Griswold and Brian Pugh.