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August 11, 2011

Cincinnati Real Estate Agent Charged with Committing $6.9 Million Mortgage Fraud

CINCINNATI—A federal grand jury has charged Rodney T. Riddle, 44, of Cincinnati, with fraudulently obtaining $6,971,870 in loans on approximately 59 properties by convincing his clients, which included close friends and fellow church members, to purchase residential properties at over-inflated prices.

Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Edward J. Hanko, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Dugan Wong, Assistant Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service announced the indictment today. These agencies are members of the Greater Cincinnati Mortgage Fraud Task Force.

Almost all of the properties have been foreclosed totaling losses of approximately $2,617,120.

The indictment charges Riddle with two counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud and one count of bank fraud. Each count is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.

Riddle operates his own real estate business known as Seasons Real Estate & Trust, 8420 Reading Road in Cincinnati. He also owns and operates a home maintenance and repair business known as Quality Home Maintenance (QHM).

The indictment alleges that, from about 2001 to 2006, Riddle ran a scheme to defraud lenders by submitting loan application paperwork that contained false statements including the amount of assets held by the "buyer," the source of the down payment, and the buyers' income. He also allegedly included phony invoices from QHM claiming that renovation or repair work had been completed on the properties as a way to justify the over-inflated purchase prices and pay for the down payments.

"People who fall prey to fraud schemes can end up losing their houses and their good credit," Stewart said. "Mortgage fraud is a crime that can victimize entire neighborhoods and erode the underpinnings of financial institutions."

An arraignment for Riddle is scheduled for today at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen L. Litkovitz.

An indictment is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in court.

Source: United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Ohio

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