Monday, October 18, 2021
Oct. 18, 2021

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Two plead guilty to loan frauds by Vancouver mortgage service

Kickbacks were as high as $84,000, prosecutor says

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Two Oregon men entered guilty pleas in federal court Tuesday and Wednesday for their parts in a Vancouver-based mortgage brokerage service scheme that defrauded lending companies out of more than $3 million — and generated fat kickbacks to the defendants, officials said.

The defendants operated Crown Point Enterprises, doing business as Lighthouse Financial Group in Vancouver, and Amsden and another man were principals of a Washington corporation they called Cash Money Brothers Financial Group Inc., according to a bulletin from Sue Rutledge with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland.

Chadwick Amsden of Portland pleaded guilty on Wednesday of one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, with a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, the bulletin said.

Adam Perkins pleaded guilty Tuesday of two counts of wire fraud, with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Amsden’s sentencing is set for Aug. 8, and Perkins’ on July 18, in U.S. District Court in Portland.

Amsden has been a licensed loan originator in Oregon.

A total of 11 defendants were indicted and seven have entered guilty pleas, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Kerin, who is prosecuting the cases with Assistant U.S. Attorney Allan Garten. The remaining four defendants’ cases are pending.

Six fraudulent cases involving five lenders are cited in the case involving Amsden, Perkins and co-defendant Joel Rosabal, who pleaded guilty earlier this year.

But the larger conspiracy involved purchases of more than 20 properties that ripped off more than 10 lenders, Kerin said.

Kerin said the defendants typically applied for loans for buyers who later did obtain title to the properties. But the defendants inflated the sales prices in their fraudulent loan applications to cover their kickbacks. The kickbacks to Amsden in the six transactions that are cited ranged from $9,800 to $84,255, the bulletin said.

Perkins’ kickbacks ranged from $30,000 to $65,000.

Among the lenders mentioned in the case as being defrauded are First Franklin Financial Corp., Decision One Mortgage, Hyperion Capital, Ace Mortgage and, twice, Millennium Funding, the bulletin said.

Lighthouse has operated from 101 E. Eighth St. and, more recently, from 4001 Main St.

In the bulletin, U.S. Attorney Dwight C. Holton said: “Mortgage fraud contributed to the country’s economic downturn and wreaked havoc on our community’s housing market. We entrusted these real estate professionals to honestly broker real-estate transactions and, instead, they defrauded lending institutions throughout the country and left financial ruin in their wake.”

“With close to a dozen defendants charged and seven already convicted, this case has had a definite impact on mortgage fraud in the Portland/Vancouver area,” said Marcus Williams, the IRS Special Agent in Charge of the Pacific Northwest. “Don’t follow in these defendants’ footsteps unless you also want to follow them into a federal courtroom.”

The case was investigated by the IRS and U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

John Branton: 360-735-4513 or john.branton@columbian.com.

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