BEND, Ore. - A Eugene man has admitted in federal court to a Central Oregon mortgage fraud scheme that cost banks up to $7 million in bad loans, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
Peter Wilkinson, 43, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud charges related to the scheme, the U.S. Department of Justice said.
Under a plea agreement, Wilkinson admitted that he caused financial institutions to lose between $2.5 million and $7 million in bad loans he pushed through as a licensed mortgage broker with his company Deschutes Mortgage Group in Bend.
According to court records, Wilkinson and others prepared and submitted fraudulent home loan applications and other false documents to lending institutions to obtain financing to purchase real estate.
To convince financial institutions to approve the loans and advance loan funds, Wilkinson and others falsely inflated borrowers' monthly incomes on home loan applications, omitted borrowers' liabilities from home loan applications, falsely claimed on home loan applications that the financing was for a primary residence rather than an investment property, and used straw buyers to obtain financing for real estate, prosecutors said.
In addition, they said, Wilkinson and others caused large amounts of money, often $100,000 or more, to be deposited into borrowers' checking accounts to temporarily inflate their account balances, thereby causing borrowers' banks to generate false verifications of deposit (VOD), a document that showed the amount of money in borrowers' checking accounts.
These VODs were used by Wilkinson and others to falsely prove cash reserves, on the part of the borrowers, to the lending institutions as a material part of the loan approval process.
Sentencing is set for January 29, 2013 at 10 a.m. before U.S. District Chief Judge Ann Aiken. The maximum penalty for conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud is 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott E. Bradford.