Tuesday, May 8, 2012

3 Get Multi-Year Prison Terms For Roles In Mortgage Scam; One Victim Lost Equity, Title To Home After Signing Papers Purporting To Be Home Equity Loan

From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (Houston, Texas):

  • Claymon “Butch” Trammell along with his wife and daughter, all of Houston, have been sentenced to federal prison for their respective roles in a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Trammell, 62, his daughter Michelle Trammell, 40, and wife Jeannettea Williams, 57, all previously entered guilty pleas for one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

  • Today, United States District Court Judge Vanessa Gilmore heard testimony from a an man victimized by North Belt Mortgage, the business from which defendants ran their fraud scheme until 2005. The victim reported he went to North Belt looking for a home equity loan to help him buy an 18-wheeler for his business.

  • The victim, who did not speak English, had been paying on his home mortgage for 21 years and was close to having the home paid in full. He testified that Claymon Trammell and others, using a translator, told him to sign papers for a home equity loan.

  • Unbeknownst to the victim, however, he actually signed papers selling the home with Claymon Trammell receiving the equity from the sale. Not only did the victim get no money, but he was later forcibly evicted from his home because he no longer owned it, leaving him and his family homeless for a period of time.

  • Following the testimony, Judge Gilmore assessed the maximum punishment of 60 months each for Claymon Trammell and Williams, while Michelle Trammell was sentenced to 36 months. Each defendant was also ordered to pay $907,000 restitution to various mortgage lenders.

  • There were more than 70 homes involved in the scheme, all of which went into payment default and most into foreclosure. The defendants caused lenders to fund loans to purchase more than 70 homes in the Houston area and personally benefitted, jointly, by funneling some of the loan proceeds to themselves via businesses they controlled and/or owned via bogus repair invoices and realtor and loan officer commissions.
For the U.S. Attorney press release, see Three Family Members Land in Federal Prison for Mortgage Fraud (Each Ordered to Pay Nearly $1 Million in Restitution).

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