A federal grand jury has indicted Richard Nobles of Granville, Ohio with one count each of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. According to the indictment, Nobles owned and operated a real estate business called Home Team Solutions Ltd., and he owned and controlled a real estate business called Zircon Funding Ltd. In addition, Nobles had control over a business in the name of an individual called Noble Presence Farm LLC.
It has been alleged that between January 2006 and February 2008 Nobles conspired with others to defraud lending institutions in order to fraudulently obtain loans for property investors in the amount of approximately $2,526,955.
Nobles, through his various companies, purchased approximately nine properties in the Columbus, Ohio area. Many of these homes were in the Columbus area, located south of German Village. Nobles enlisted the services of various mortgage brokers in the Columbus area to assist in selling the homes. The homes were allegedly "flipped" within months of Nobles purchasing the properties.
Allegedly, Nobles assured the mortgage brokers that he would provide the necessary down payments for the new buyers, since most of the investors did not have the funds to pay the required downpayments. The mortgage brokers promised the investors that they would receive incentive payments after closing and that the homes they were buying would generate substantial rental income.
It has been alleged that the mortgage brokers completed fraudulent Uniform Residential Loan Application Forms 1003 for each of the investors in order to qualify them for the mortgage loans. Nobles allegedly paid the purchasers’ down payments with cashier’s checks drawn from accounts in the name of his respective businesses. The indictment alleges that Nobles concealed from the investors’ lenders that he was the source of the down payments. Ultimately, Nobles was reimbursed with the excess loan proceeds generated by the purchase of the property. Nobles understood that the HUD-1 Settlement Statement for each property sale were false because they failed to disclose the true source of the down payments.
Nobles allegedly established a sale prices on the homes that was over inflated in order to generate the funds necessary to provide the investors’ downpayments and to generate a substantial profit for himself. Investigators said Nobles had associates in the mortgage appraisal industry that assisted him in obtaining the highest possible prices for his properties.
Nobles allegedly used the profits to pay his associates and the mortgage brokers alleged kickbacks ranging in amounts from approximately $4,000 to approximately $100,000.
Conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud and bank fraud are punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Conspiracy to commit money laundering is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Money laundering is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or not more than twice the amount of criminally derived property involved in the transaction.
“Mortgage fraud is every bit as corrosive to American society as street crime,” said Darryl Williams, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office. “This type of fraud has far-reaching economic consequences and severely thwarts recovery from the foreclosure crisis, leaving communities with inflated home values and financial institutions with uncollectible loans.”