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Timothy L. Ritchie of Annapolis, Md. has pleaded guilty to making false statements arising from a real estate closing. The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Rene Febles of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Office of Inspector General; and Special Agent in Charge Fran Mace of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Office of Inspector General.
Ritchie owned and operated Richland Homes Inc., and was in the business of building, purchasing and selling homes.
According to his plea agreement, on July 7, 2005, Ritchie attended a residential closing for his purchase of three lots located in St. Michael’s, Md. John Davis, a real estate agent, conducted the closing, and listed Ritchie on the HUD statement as the buyer/ borrower. The HUD statement falsely stated that Ritchie provided $1,153,937.23 in cash at the closing. In fact, Ritchie did not provide any funds to Davis at the closing. As a result of the false statement, Ritchie fraudulently obtained approximately $2,445,102 from a mortgage lender by wire transfer to fund the settlement.
Ritchie faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett scheduled his sentencing for Jan. 14, 2016.
In a related case, John L. Davis of Chestertown, Md., previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud arising from his participation in the scheme, and awaits sentencing. Davis admitted that the loss arising from his participation in the scheme is between $400,000 and $1 million.
The Maryland Mortgage Fraud Task Force was established to unify the agencies that regulate and investigate mortgage fraud and promote the early detection, identification, prevention and prosecution of mortgage fraud schemes. This case, as well as other cases brought by members of the Task Force, demonstrates the commitment of law enforcement agencies to protect consumers from fraud and promote the integrity of the credit markets.
U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FHFA-OIG and FDIC-OIG for their work in the investigation. Rosenstein thanked Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin V. DiGregory and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen O. Gavin, who are prosecuting the case.