A Lantana man was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison and ordered to pay $8.5 million in restitution for his role in a mortgage fraud operation involving a series of house flipping schemes.
On January 29, 2013, a federal jury convicted Robert Brooks, 46, of one count of conspiring to commit bank, wire and mail fraud, eight counts of mail fraud and two counts of aiding the filing of false income tax returns.
Evidence presented during trial showed that 20 individuals, under the direction of Brooks, participated in a mortgage fraud scheme from May 17, 2005 until February 21, 2008, where Brooks purchased properties at fair market value then resold them at an artificially inflated price to straw purchasers.
Investigators said that Brooks recruited his co-defendants–appraisers, loan processors, title company employees, straw purchasers, etc.–and provided them with kickbacks from loan proceeds for their participation in the scheme.
Brooks’ mortgage loan scheme involved over 40 properties primarily located in the Dallas area and defrauded banks in Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and Houston of over $20 million.
Jurors also found that Brooks caused the submission of false 2007 income tax returns for himself and his wife, and for a partnership, which contained a false business expense.
Brooks is the only defendant in the case to be sentenced; 14 people are awaiting sentencing after entering guilty pleas and seven are still pending trial.