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March 25, 2014

Attorney Sent to Prison for Her Role in Mortgage Fraud Scheme

RALEIGH—The United States Attorney's Office announces that in federal court yesterday, Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever, III sentenced former attorney AMY ROBINSON, 36, of Rolesville, to 18 months' imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release. The court further ordered ROBINSON to make restitution of $2,613,046.37 to various banks and other victims.

The criminal information and other evidence showed that between 2002 and 2006, James Thomas Webb (previously sentenced to 237 months in prison) was operating a company identified as Alpine Properties, LLC. Webb promised investors that he and Alpine Properties would use investor money to purchase homes at a low value, renovate the homes, and then sell them to first-time home buyers for a higher value. During that time period, ROBINSON was a licensed North Carolina attorney who closed real estate transactions for Webb and his investors.

Evidence established that ROBINSON and Webb systematically falsified the HUD-1 settlement statements associated with numerous sales of properties from Alpine Properties to Webb's investors. The HUD-1s contained numerous false statements and misrepresentations, including the amount of money the borrower brought to closing, the payment of closing funds to secondary, prior lien holders, and the amount of money actually paid to Webb. Each HUD-1 also contained a false certification by Webb and ROBINSON that the settlement statements were true and accurate reflection of all receipts and disbursements made by or on behalf of the parties to the transactions. ROBINSON transmitted the false documents to the lenders and banks by mail and wire. The banks and lenders relied upon the statements in issuing loans for the sale of properties from Webb's companies to his investors.

Ultimately, after the collapse of Alpine Properties, many of the loans on the properties went into default, resulting in millions in losses to various banks and lenders. At the sentencing, the court held ROBINSON accountable for $2,613,046.37 in losses and ordered ROBINSON to make restitution to the victims of the offense.

ROBINSON pleaded guilty on May 3, 2010 to conspiracy to commit wire, mail, and bank fraud, in violation of Title 18,United States Code, Section 371.

Investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of the Inspector General, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of the Inspector General, with the assistance of the North Carolina State Bar. Assistant United States Attorney William M. Gilmore represented the United States.

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

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