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July 12, 2011

Real Estate Agent, Loan Officer Among Five Defendants to Plead Guilty to $11 Million Mortgage Fraud

KANSAS CITY, MO—Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a former real estate agent and a former loan officer are among five co-defendants who have pleaded guilty in federal court to their roles in an $11 million mortgage fraud scheme that involved upscale homes in Lee's Summit, Blue Springs, Liberty, Parkville, and elsewhere.

Carole L. Colson, 68, of Lake Worth, Fla., a former real estate agent, Anthony E. Hicks, 39, of Little Rock, Ark., a former mortgage loan officer, and Zelda Ann Jackson, also known as Zelda Ann Aberin, 38, of Woodland Hills, Calif., pleaded guilty today in separate appearances before U.S. District Judge Greg Kays to the charge contained in a Nov. 19, 2010, federal indictment.

Bruce Q. Williams, 42, of Kansas City, Kan., a former mortgage loan officer, and Mark P. Billey, 38, of Buena Park, Calif., have also pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy.

Each of the defendants pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy that began in early 2005 and operated until Aug. 4, 2006. As a result of the fraud scheme, mortgage lenders made loans totaling $11,092,886. From that total, buyers received approximately $2,006,845 in kickbacks without the knowledge or consent of the lenders.

The mortgage fraud scheme involved purchasing homes at inflated prices in order to obtain loan proceeds in excess of the actual sales prices. The purchases were structured in such a way that the buyers would receive kickbacks from the loan proceeds. Conspirators submitted false and fraudulent loan applications and supporting documents to mortgage lenders, who were not aware that the buyers would receive kickbacks. Conspirators used false invoices to conceal the kickback payments from the lenders.

For the purchase of eight properties in which Colson participated, mortgage lenders approved approximately $5.1 million in loans. Her business, Carole Colson Real Estate L.L.C., received commissions totaling $165,776. The loss resulting from the eight loans is approximately $2.3 million.

Hicks was involved in the purchase of two properties. On one property, he was the mortgage broker who obtained loans for the purchaser, and on one property he was the purchaser; both properties went into default and were foreclosed. Hicks received a $100,000 kickback from the purchase of the second property. He received fees for his services in connection with the purchase of the first property, for which co-conspirators received $125,000 in kickbacks. The estimated losses on the two loans is $650,025.

Jackson aided and abetted her husband, Mark Jackson, in the purchase of the Lee's Summit home in which Hicks was involved as mortgage broker, as well as other properties in the Kansas City area. Mark Jackson was charged and pleaded guilty in a separate mortgage fraud case. From the purchase of the Lee's Summit property, unbeknownst to the lender, Mark Jackson received a $100,000 kickback. The property went into default and was foreclosed, resulting in a loss of $314,870.

Williams was the mortgage broker who obtained a total of $6.8 million in fraudulent loans for 10 properties as part of the mortgage fraud scheme. Williams obtained a total of $50,336 in kickbacks, in addition to his fees.

Billey purchased two properties for nearly $1.4 million, for which he received $190,000 in kickbacks.

Under federal statutes, each of the defendants is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000 and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Linda Parker Marshall. It was investigated by the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation.

Source: United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri

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