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PRESS RELEASE


Guilty on 51 Counts

More than $2.2 million in loss to lenders


 
Nashville, TN - (February 5, 2009) The Office of U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, Sarah Beth Pulliam, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service’s Nashville Office, and Christopher Pikelis, Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Investigation, Internal Revenue Service, announced that Harold Stafford was found guilty by a federal court jury yesterday on all fifty-one counts of an indictment charging him with conspiracy, wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for May 11, 2009.

According to testimony at the six day trial, Stafford engaged in a mortgage fraud scheme that involved the purchase of twenty-two luxury homes in Hendersonville, Gallatin and Goodlettsville by unqualified straw buyers. Two other men involved in the scheme previously pled guilty and testified at the trial of Stafford. Stafford and those two co-conspirators caused the submission to mortgage lenders of false mortgage loan applications that overstated the straw buyers’ income, falsely stated that the homes would be the straw buyers’ primary residences, and failed to disclose other recent home purchases by the same straw buyers. All of these mortgage loans ended in default and foreclosure, resulting in losses to mortgage lenders after foreclosure totaling approximately $2,214,700.

Stafford faces up to 30 years in prison, a $1,000,000 fine, and supervision for up to five years. However, any sentence will be imposed by the Court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and applicable federal statutes.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, the United States Secret Service, and the 18th Judicial District Drug Task Force. The United States is represented in the case by Assistant United States Attorneys Byron Jones and John Webb.



SOURCE: United State Department of Justice -- Middle District of Tennessee

 
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