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Calif. man gets prison in Nev. mortgage fraud case

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- A California man has been sentenced to 5 1/2 years in federal prison for heading what prosecutors called a double-escrow mortgage fraud scheme in Henderson and Las Vegas, authorities said Friday.

George Anderson, 55, of Copperopolis, Calif., was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release after prison for his guilty plea in April to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said.

Bogden called the case an example of thousands of fraudulent residential mortgage transactions in Nevada that led to millions of dollars in losses for homeowners, financial institutions and investors.

Anderson's lawyer, Jennifer Wirsching, noted that her client could have faced up to 20 years in prison but took responsibility for his crime. She also cited mitigating factors in his case, including a former drug addiction and care for his bedridden sister.

A co-defendant, Andrew Swan, 38, of Heyworth, Ill., was sentenced in June to 2 1/2 years in federal prison for his guilty plea in January to wire fraud and conspiracy charges.

U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt ordered the two men, together, to pay $3.5 million in restitution.

Anderson admitted soliciting straw buyers for homes that he controlled and resold at a profit, and Swan was recruited to buy houses from the straw buyers for a kickback.

Bogden said false information was submitted to get loans issued to Anderson's company, Anderson Financial Group, and Swan's company, Creative Capital Group.

Most of the mortgage payments for the homes weren't paid and the homes went into foreclosure, Bogden said.