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Las Vegas Real Estate Agent and Mortgage Broker Convicted for Their Roles in Mortgage Fraud Scheme

WASHINGTON – A real estate agent and a mortgage broker, both of Las Vegas, were found guilty today for their participation in a mortgage fraud scheme that netted nearly $2.5 million in fraudulent mortgage loans, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden of the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Kevin Favreau of the FBI’s Las Vegas Field Office.

After a seven-day trial, a federal jury in Las Vegas found Jeannie Sutherland and Kelly Nunes guilty of one count of bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud. Sutherland, 67, and Nunes, 41, were acquitted on a second count of bank fraud. A third individual, Michael Toren, 41, was acquitted on the one charge against him.

According to the evidence at trial and court documents, Sutherland, a real estate agent, and Nunes, a mortgage broker, participated in a scheme to submit fraudulent loan documents to a lender and to artificially inflate the sales price of two Las Vegas homes. The scheme netted nearly $2.5 million in mortgage loans, more than $600,000 of which was diverted by the defendants in the form of kickbacks and commissions. The participants then attempted to cover up their scheme by lying to state regulators and federal investigators.

Sutherland and Nunes face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison on each count.

Two co-conspirators, John Williams and Carson Winget, previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the fraud scheme and will be sentenced at a later date.

This case was investigated by the FBI. Trial Attorneys Thomas B.W. Hall and Brian R. Young of the Fraud Section in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division prosecuted the case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada provided assistance with the prosecution. Former Fraud Section Trial Attorney Joseph Capone also assisted with the investigation.

Today’s guilty pleas are part of efforts underway by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information about the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.

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