Mortgage Fraudster|Convicted a Second Time

     LAS VEGAS (CN) – On retrial Monday, a federal jury re-convicted an Arizona man of running a $24 million mortgage scheme that flipped 110 homes by defrauding lending banks.
     Brett Depue, of Gilbert, was convicted by a jury in 2012 and sentenced to almost 22 years in prison. Depue, 41, represented himself at trial.
     He appealed, and the Ninth Circuit found that his waiver of right to counsel did not comply with established standards, so it vacated his convictions and remanded for a new trial.
     After a four-day jury trial and 1½ days of deliberations, the jury Monday convicted him of seven counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit mail, bank and wire fraud.
     U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said he was “pleased” by the re-conviction.
     “There were over 100 homes used as part of this conspiracy to defraud the financial institutions of millions,” the prosecutor said.
     Depue ran a number of businesses in Las Vegas from 2005 to 2007, including ABS Investments Group and Liberty Group Investments. He conspired with at least 10 others to defraud federally insured banks by recruiting straw buyers, typically friends or family members with good credit, to buy homes that Depue would control, Bogden said.
     Depue paid the straw buyers about $5,000 to put houses in their name and prepared mortgage applications with false information to qualify for loans. At first, the FBI said, Depue orchestrated simple straw-buyer transactions in which the straw buyers bought houses using 100 percent financing.
     The properties were sold for more than the asking price and one of Depue’s companies pocketed the difference. Depue often used double escrows, in which a buyer bought a property and resold it to a straw buyer at an inflated price, sometimes on the same day.
     Depue and his co-conspirators obtained mortgage loans for 110 homes in Las Vegas and Henderson between April 2005 and April 2007, and when the houses went into foreclosure, lenders lost more $24 million, the FBI said.
     Ten co-conspirators have been convicted. Depue could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison for each fraud count.
     Department of Justice spokeswoman Natalie Collins was not available for comment Monday. Nor was Depue.
     Depue will be sentenced on Nov. 9.

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