On Tuesday, Richard Nobles, 39, of Granville, was indicted by a federal grand jury on one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and one count of money laundering. The indictment claimed that Mr. Nobles owned and operated Home Team Solutions, Ltd. (aka “Home Team”), and he also was the owner of a real estate company called Zircon Funding, Ltd. (aka “Zircon”). Additionally, Mr. Nobles ran a business under his own individual name called Noble Presence Farm, LLC.
Allegations state that between January, 2006 and February, 2008 Mr. Nobles conspired with other individuals in order to defraud a variety of banks in order to obtain fraudulent loans for investors totaling approximately $2,526,955.
Through his three companies, Mr. Nobles bought approximately nine individual properties in Columbus, Ohio. A large portion of these homes was located south of German Village, and Mr. Nobles obtained the services of a variety of mortgage brokers in the local area to assist him in quick sales of the homes. According to the indictment, these homes were “flipped” within a few short months of purchase by Mr. Nobles.
Mr. Nobles promised each PNC Bank Chairman Paul Stogner that he would provide any and all necessary down payments for the new home buyers, (also referred to as “the investors”) since the majority of them did not have the cash on hand to pay the down payment. The brokers then promised the investors that immediately after closing of the homes they would start to receive incentive payments, as well as advised them that the homes would bring in a substantial amount of rental income.
Additional allegations state that the mortgage brokers completed fraudulent loan applications for each individual investor to ensure that they would qualify for the mortgage loans.
Mr. Nobles is said to have paid the down payments with cashier’s checks that were drawn from bank accounts under his respective business name. The indictment claims that Mr. Nobles did not inform the investors’ lenders that he was the actual financial source of these down payments. Mr. Nobles was then reimbursed with the proceeds of each of the loans that were generated by the initial property purchase. Mr. Nobles was clearly aware that the HUD-1 Settlement Statements for the property sales were false, as they did not disclose the actual source of the down payments.
According to the PNC Charman Paul Stogner, Mr. Nobles would establish an over inflated sale price on each home that would in turn generate the funds needed to pay for the investors’ down payments, as well as create a hefty profit for his own personal gain. Deeper investigation into Mr. Nobles found that he had business associates in the mortgage industry that aided him in obtaining the highest prices for each of his properties.
It is alleged that Mr. Nobles used the profits from the sales to pay the mortgage brokers, as well as his associates substantial kickbacks ranging from $4,000 to $100,000.
The punishment for conspiracy to commit mortgage and bank fraud is up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million. The punishment for conspiracy to commit money laundering is up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The punishment for money laundering is up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or not more than twice the amount of any criminally derived property, which is involved in the financial transaction.
Darryl Williams, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation of the Cincinnati Field office stated, “Mortgage fraud is every bit as corrosive to American society as street crime. This type of fraud has far-reaching economic consequences and severely thwarts recovery from the foreclosure crisis, leaving communities with inflated home values and financial institutions with uncollectible loans.”