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Indiana Secretary of State’s office helped investigate nearly $3 million scam that caused victims to default on loans
INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 24, 2011) – An investigation that involved the Indiana Secretary of State’s Securities Division has resulted in the sentencing Thursday of the final defendant in an Allen County mortgage fraud scheme.
Robin Hunt, a former mortgage broker in Ft. Wayne, was given a 1-year sentence, with one year of probation, after pleading guilty in January to two counts of loan broker fraud, a class D felony.
Hunt, who was sentenced by Allen County Superior Court 5 Judge Fran Gull, also was ordered to pay $25,000 in restitution to Flagstar Bank as a result of a fraudulent loan causing default.
Co-defendant Joseph Garretson spearheaded the scheme that involved co-defendant Lane Miller and Hunt. Garretson admitted to using Hunt and Miller’s mortgage company – Freedom Financial Mortgage Corp. – to arrange mortgage refinancing loans for clients. Garretson then acknowledged using the money for personal gain.
The scheme caused the victims, many of whom were acquaintances of Garretson’s, to default on their mortgages and lose a total of nearly $3 million.
“Today’s sentencing is the culmination of a very successful partnership between the Secretary of State and the Allen County prosecutor,” Indiana Securities Commissioner Chris Naylor said. “Our offices worked closely in this case to combat mortgage fraud and to hold these unscrupulous individuals accountable for their crimes.”
Former Indiana University basketball standout and radio announcer Todd Leary also played a role in the scam by conspiring with Garretson to divert borrowers’ money for the purpose of receiving ill-gotten gains.
Hunt submitted unlawful mortgage loan applications to various banks using his own name, knowing that Garretson and Miller had actually completed the paperwork on behalf of borrowers despite not being licensed to do so.
In June 2010, Garretson pleaded guilty to three felony counts, including unlawful loan organization activities, misappropriation of mortgage title escrow funds and corrupt business influence. He is currently serving an 11 ½-year prison sentence in the Indiana Department of Corrections.
Miller pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit loan broker fraud and was sentenced to one year of probation and one year of community service in early January 2011.
In October 2010, Leary pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit conversion or misappropriation of title escrow funds in connection with the scheme. He was sentenced to two years of home detention, two years of probation and ordered to pay $294,000 in restitution.
About the Prosecution Assistance Unit
Created in 2004, the sole purpose of the unit is to assist police and prosecutors in investigating and prosecuting criminal violations of the Indiana Securities Act and the Indiana Loan Brokers Act. The investigators and attorneys in the unit collectively have 72 years of experience in investigating and prosecuting criminals.
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