Former loan officer convicted of fraud and identity theft
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Following a six-day jury trial, 40-year-old Nicholas Lindsey of Billings, Montana, was convicted of nine counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme.
"Many innocent homeowners in Nevada have suffered because of this type of crime involving fraudulent residential mortgage transactions," said U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden.
According to the indictment and evidence, from about May to September 2006, Lindsey, who worked as a loan officer for Clear Mortgage and Signature Mortgage, recruited straw buyers to participate in what he described as a lucrative real estate investment opportunity by purchasing five homes in the Las Vegas area.
Evidence demonstrated Lindsey secured over $3 million in mortgage loans by knowingly causing to be placed in the straw buyers' mortgage loan applications false information concerning the buyers' income, assets and intent to occupy the homes.
Once the mortgages were approved, Lindsey fraudulently diverted to his bank account a portion of the proceeds disbursed from escrow and used these funds to his own benefit.
In addition to the five homes of which the buyers were aware, Lindsey stole two buyers' identities and used their personal information to purchase three additional properties in their names.
After collecting profits, Lindsey stopped making the mortgage payments on the properties and allowed all eight homes to default in the borrowers' names, causing an estimated loss to lenders of $1.6 million.
Lindsey is scheduled to be sentenced on July 22.