Macon man pleads responsible to taking part in mortgage fraud scheme

Oct. 31—MACON—A Macon man who participated in a scheme to defraud a neighborhood financial institution pleaded responsible for his function within the conspiracy.

Garland Stephens, 66, of Macon, pleaded responsible to 1 depend of conspiracy to defraud a monetary establishment earlier than US District Choose Marc Treadwell on Oct. 27. Stephens faces a most of 30 years in jail adopted by 5 years of supervised launch and a $1 million positive. Sentencing is scheduled for February 1.

“The fraudulent scheme on this case harmed a neighborhood enterprise and value it a whole lot of hundreds of {dollars},” stated US Legal professional Peter D. Leary. “Defending residents and small companies from fraudsters and in the end holding them accountable for his or her felony actions is a excessive precedence for this workplace and our regulation enforcement companions.”

“The FBI works exhausting to make it possible for greed like this does not repay and that those that commit fraud are held accountable,” stated Keri Farley, Particular Agent in Cost of FBI Atlanta. “Let this petition and the potential of 30 years in jail function a warning to others to suppose twice earlier than trying to steal from the American banking system.”

In line with courtroom paperwork, Stephens was recruited in 2018 by co-conspirator William Spigener III, 34, of Columbus, an AgGeorgia mortgage officer on the time, to pose as a borrower with a purpose to acquire fraudulent AgGeorgia loans. Spigener recruited Stephens and different bogus debtors and, in trade for utilizing his personally identifiable data and showing at mortgage closings, would give them a portion of the mortgage proceeds, elevating a lot of the cash himself.

Spigener would create documentation to make sure mortgage purposes have been authorized, when in actual fact, none of those candidates have been engaged in any kind of farming exercise and didn’t have the earnings or collateral to again the loans obtained from AgGeorgia.

Particularly, Stephens was falsely listed as a farm tools salesman on two authorized mortgage purposes. For every of those loans, checks have been written to Stephens and co-conspirator Eary Fuller, 57, of Macon, in June and October 2018. Fuller and Stephens endorsed the mortgage checks and deposited them. Spigener stored a lot of the mortgage proceeds, with among the cash going to Fuller and Stephens.

Stephens then agreed to take out a fraudulent mortgage with AgGeorgia in his personal identify. Spigener used Stephens’ private data to current the fraudulent mortgage and likewise created and introduced false monetary data and working bills for the farm. Stephens was authorized for an $85,000 mortgage. In actuality, Stephens didn’t have a farm that required working bills.

Stephens was current on the mortgage closing on January 25, 2019, and cashed a $30,000 verify that he signed. Many of the cash was transferred to Spigener. Spigener and different co-conspirators have pleaded responsible on this case. For extra data, go to https://www.justice.gov/usao-mdga/pr/former-aggeorgia-loan-officer-sentenceced-committing-fraud.

This case was investigated by the FBI. US Legal professional Elizabeth Howard is prosecuting the case.

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