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P R E S S   R E L E A S E


March 19, 2013

Loan Fraudster Sentenced to 160 Months in Prison

Allie Speight, 58, of Philadelphia, was sentenced today to 160 months in prison for a loan fraud scheme that included aggravated identity theft, bank fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. Speight pleaded guilty on April 16, 2012 to orchestrating a scheme to induce others to obtain loans as straw borrowers in return for receiving a percentage of the loans. Co-defendant Jerome Manker received funds from the loans for construction and rehabilitation work that he never performed.

Speight and co-defendant Maurice Thomas would act as brokers, scouting for depressed properties and enticing others to purchase the properties by obtaining loans that were far in excess of the properties' values. Speight and Thomas used a mortgage broker in Pittsburgh to prepare and submit loan applications that contained false W-2 statements and pay stubs, mostly from the fictitious company of "Allied Construction and Development Corp.," owned by Allie Speight.

The mortgage broker, John Polosky, charged elsewhere, received payments from the loan proceeds outside of the payments identified in the HUD-1 settlement sheets for the loans. Speight and Thomas received at least 10 percent of the loan proceeds that they helped to broker. In many cases, Speight and Thomas allegedly created forged letters from the straw borrowers that directed title companies to send the proceeds to Fred A. Johnson, Jr., charged elsewhere, an accountant based in West Philadelphia. Johnson then laundered the loan proceeds by disbursing the monies to various bank accounts according to Speight's and Thomas' directions. By misdirecting the funds to Johnson, the lenders were not aware that the loan money was ultimately disbursed to individuals not entitled to receive the funds, including Speight, Thomas, and members of Speight's family.

More than $3 million in loans were obtained during the course of the conspiracy.

Speight was also charged with a scheme to obtain loans from Wachovia Bank using straw borrowers. Co-defendants Jerome Manker and Andrea McCrea, a former Wachovia employee, submitted loan applications that contained false documents. Over the course of three loans, Manker and McCrae obtained from Wachovia over $300,000 in loan proceeds. In July 2007, after McCrea was no longer working for Wachoiva, McCrea bribed another Wachovia employee to push a third Manker loan using a straw borrower.

In addition to the prison term—24 months of which is a mandatory term for the aggravated identity theft—U.S. District Court Judge Juan R. Sanchez ordered Speight to pay restitution in the amount of $2,037,700, joint and severally with his co-defendants who have already been sentenced.

Maurice Thomas was sentenced to 78 months in prison; Jerome Manker was sentenced to 51 months in prison; Andrea McCrea was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Daniel Velez and Christopher Diviny.

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

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