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Mortgage Insiders Sentenced to Prison

HOUSTON—Four employees of Central Capital Financial Group have been sentenced to prison for running a mortgage fraud scheme, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. United States District Judge Nancy F. Atlas handed down the sentences in federal court in Houston on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

Judge Atlas sentenced Anthony Wayne Hawkins, 50, of Houston, to 151 months in prison for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering on Tuesday, Nov. 30. Hawkins oversaw a real estate office, Team Work Realty, and a mortgage brokerage office, Central Capital Financial Group, in Houston, where a large scale mortgage fraud scheme was run. Hawkins, a licensed loan officer and real estate agent was found to be an organizer and leader of this fraud scheme.

Also sentenced were loan officer Brandon Crenshaw, 30, of Houston; loan officer Nehemiah Douglas, 30, of Spring, Texas; loan processor Shirley Adger, 51, of Dallas, Texas; and local business owner David Vasser, 61, of Houston, who ran a local trucking company named Rising Star Enterprises. Crenshaw and Douglas were convicted of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering and received a 36-month and 24-month sentence of imprisonment, respectively. Adger and Vasser were convicted of several counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in February 2010 at the conclusion of a jury trial. In addition, Vasser was convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Adger was sentenced to 60 months in prison, while Vasser received 87 months in prison. Crenshaw was sentenced on Monday, Nov. 29, while the remaining defendants were sentenced on Tuesday, Nov. 30.

The scheme involved numerous misrepresentations on mortgage loan applications which the defendants supported with other fraudulent documents. Vasser was accused of not only applying for and receiving mortgage loans under false pretenses, but allowing his business, Rising Star Enterprises, to be used in the scheme as an employer of straw borrowers on loan applications in exchange for money. The scheme was alleged to have taken place between 2002 and 2006 and involved approximately 129 fraudulent property transactions.

Hawkins was immediately taken into custody after sentence was pronounced, while the others were permitted to remain on bond pending the issuance of an order to surrender to a Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future where they will serve their respective sentences.

The criminal charges are the result of a joint investigation being conducted by agents of the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Melissa Annis.

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