Federal investigators remain vigilant in their investigation of Arizona mortgage fraud. They are specifically on the lookout for straw purchases, given the prevalence of the scheme.
Earlier this month, an Arizona man was sentenced to almost 22 years in prison for an elaborate $24 million mortgage fraud scheme that involved more than 100 properties in Las Vegas and Henderson. Brett Depue, 38, was also ordered to serve five years of supervised release and to pay restitution of approximately $1.5 million.
Depue recruited straw buyers, typically friends or family members with good credit, to purchase homes that they had no intent to occupy. The straw buyers were paid $5,000 each to put houses in their names. Mortgage frauds involving straw buyers often involve a number of participants. In some cases, the straw buyers or brokers may not even be aware that they are participating in illegal activity. Because the masterminds of these schemes will recruit friends and family to help them execute mortgage fraud, it is easy for an innocent person to get caught up in the scheme.
In Depue’s case, ten co-conspirators were also convicted for their roles in the fraud.
If you are under investigation or have been accused of being a straw buyer, you may face serious consequences if convicted. Therefore, it is essential to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney.