Former NFL football player Jimmy Hitchcock has been sentenced to 46 months in federal prison, followed by two years of supervised release, for his role in a multi-million mortgage fraud conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney Anne M. Tompkins. Tompkins was joined by John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division, Thomas J. Holloman III, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) in making the announcment.
Hitchock of Clemmons, N.C. pleaded guilty in June 2013 to one count of mortgage fraud conspiracy, one count of bank bribery conspiracy and one count of money laundering conspiracy. In sentencing Hitchcock, Chief U.S. District Judge Frank D. Whitney found that Hitchcock was the leader or organizer of this mortgage fraud conspiracy and further that Hitchcock had engaged in a sophisticated scheme by, among other things, creating bogus “official checks” that could be used to make it appear as if buyers had made downpayments when in fact they had not. According to court documents, Hitchcock created other false documents to support the mortgage fraud transactions and recruited a bank insider to assist in the fraud, by paying her bribes to provide bogus verifications of deposit to support the mortgage fraud transactions.
According to information presented at the sentencing hearing, the losses incurred by financial and lending institutions associated with the mortgage fraud transactions that Hitchcock participated in were approximately $4.5 million. Additionally, Hitchcock personally received more than $500,000 from the loan proceeds fraudulently obtained by the conspiracy during the 16 months it operated.
Hitchcock has been in federal custody since his September 2012 arrest in on these charges.
Hitchcock was one of six defendants charged in a second superseding bill of indictment for their role in this mortgage fraud conspiracy, and is the fourth in this conspiracy to be sentenced. The other defendants sentenced to date are:
►Christopher T. Belin of Norfolk, Va.: Real estate agent and promoter was sentenced to 33 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.
►Mitzi Jackson of Mint Hill, S.C.: Bank insider, sentenced to nine months in prison, followed by one year of supervised release with nine months home detention.
►Coley Scagliarini of Charlotte, N.C.: Mortgage broker, sentenced to 46 months in prison, followed by two years’ supervised release.
Co-defendant Michelle Mallard of Montgomery, Ala. is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 28, 2014. A sentencing date has not yet been set for co-defendant James E. Fink of Waxhaw, N.C.
Ninety-one people have been charged to date in Operation Wax House. To date, 84 defendants have pleaded guilty and three have been found guilty at trial. Operation Wax House in the Western District of North Carolina is being handled by the Charlotte Division of the FBI and the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS for the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, along with the Securities Division of the North Carolina Secretary of State with respect to a separate prosecution. The prosecution for the government was handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Kurt W. Meyers and Maria K. Vento.