DALLAS (CN) – Former Dallas Cowboy Eugene Lockhart Jr. was arrested on federal charges in a $20.5 million mortgage fraud scheme he allegedly ran with eight other defendants between 2001 and 2005.
Lockhart, 48, of Carrollton, and his co-defendants are accused of paying straw buyers to help them cheat mortgage lenders.
The team allegedly located approximately 54 single-family residences for sale in the Dallas area, including distressed and pre-foreclosure properties, and negotiated sales. They allegedly created surplus loan proceeds by inflating the sales price to an arbitrary amount that was substantially more than the fair market value.
“They recruited individuals to act as nominee or ‘straw purchasers’ or ‘straw borrowers,’ promising to pay them a bonus or commission of between $10,000 and $20,000 for their participation in a particular real estate transaction,” federal prosecutors said in a statement.
“The conspirators caused the loan applications for each straw borrower to include false financial information, often including inflated false income figures to conceal the borrower’s true financial condition so that the lender would more likely approve the loan.”
Prosecutors say the defendants concealed from lenders that the straw borrowers never intended to occupy the homes. They also are accused of listing bogus and fraudulent “marketing fees” on closing documents.
Also named in the indictment are Lendell Beacham, 50, of DeSoto; William Randolph Tisdale, Jr., 45, formerly of Dallas, but serving a federal sentence on unrelated charges; Hubert Jones, III, 39, of Garland; Patricia Ortega Suarez, 55, of Dallas; Suzette Switzer Hinds, 45, of Dallas; Michael Anthony Caldwell, 49, of Arlington; Donna Lois Kneeland, 45, of Grand Prairie; and Bryan J. Moorman, 67, of Mesquite.
All nine are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud.
In addition, Lockhart, Beacham and Moorman are charged with one count of wire fraud; Tisdale is charged with two counts of bank fraud; Jones is charged with two counts of bank fraud and one count of wire fraud; Suarez is charged with one count each of bank fraud and wire fraud; and Hinds is charged with one count of bank fraud.
According to the indictment, Lockhart was involved with several real estate entities, including America’s Team Mortgage, America’s Team Realty, America’s Team Funding Group, Ace Mortgage, Cowboys Realty, Cowboys Mortgage, and KLT Properties. Tisdale was involved with Pinnacle Development and Realty Corp., Atilla Capital Corp., and KLT Properties.
Jones was the president of Pinnacle Development and Realty Corp. and director of Atilla Capital Corp.
Beacham was the owner of Cowboys Mortgage and was involved with Ace Mortgage. Suarez, Hinds and Kneeland were escrow officers at various title companies.
Caldwell was general manager at New Land National Title and Moorman was an appraiser.
Each of the conspiracy and bank fraud counts carries a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, a $1 million fine and restitution. Each of the wire fraud counts carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and restitution.