(WIBW) - A former Missouri man has pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud.
The U.S. Attorney's Office says 35-year old Maurice Ragland, who used to live in Lee's Summit, MO, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.
In his plea, prosecutors say Ragland admitted that in 2003 and 2004 he conspired with co-defendant Wildor Washington, Jr., and others to obtain mortgage loans by submitting inflated property appraisals and other false information to lenders.
Prosecutors say the conspirators targeted borrowers with low incomes and little knowledge of the real estate industry, urging them to apply for real estate loans that were processed through various entities the conspirators controlled. The companies included Heritage Financial Investments, Legacy Enterprises, Atlantic Mortgage, Inc., T.E.R.M. Appraisers, the Real Estate Group, J.T.F. Enterprises, Liberty Escrow and AMSTAR Mortgage.
Prosecutors say many of the real estate appraisals Ragland and the others submitted contained inflated property values and forged signatures of licensed appraisers whose identities had been stolen. In addition, Ragland and other conspirators acted as home buyers and submitted loan applications containing false income and asset information as well as false information about the appraiser of the property and the intended use of the property.
Lenders issued loans based on that false information.
Ragland is scheduled for sentencing Dec. 21, 2009. Prosecutors are recommending a sentence of 108 months.
*Victoria Bennett, who is set for sentencing Dec. 21, 2009.
*Terrence Cole, who is set for sentencing Dec. 21, 2009.
*Scott Alexander, who was sentenced to 12 months and a day.
*Wildor Washington, Jr., and Kara E. Robinson-Franks, who are set for trial Nov. 17, 2009.