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P R E S S   R E L E A S E

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

May 20, 2011


Two Fresno Men Sentenced To Prison For Mortgage Fraud Scheme

FRESNO, Calif. United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that United States District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill sentenced Wrenl Burge, 40, of Fresno, to 41 months in prison and Albert Lewis Ellis, 46, also of Fresno, to 33 months in prison for a scheme to falsify mortgage loan documents. Burge was ordered to pay $1,011,524 in restitution, and Ellis was ordered to pay $548,178 in restitution to the mortgage lenders.

According to their plea agreements, Burge and Ellis each admitted that they each obtained a social security number that belonged to another person and used that social security number to obtain mortgages to purchase various properties in Fresno. As part of their scheme to defraud, Burge and Ellis, using the fraudulently obtained social security numbers, would each submit mortgage loan applications to lenders and would falsify information regarding their employer, their salary, and their assets. The homes eventually went into foreclosure, causing a combined loss to the lending institutions of $1,559,702.

This case is the product of a joint investigation by the United States Secret Service, the Social Security Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michele Thielhorn.

Source: United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California


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