Computer Crime Research Center


Suthers indicts 10 for mortgage fraud

Date: March 25, 2008
By: Paula Moore

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers on Monday announced indictments against 10 individuals who allegedly participated in a large mortgage-fraud operation.

Those indicted face 29 charges, including theft, forgery, computer crime and violations of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act.

Between the spring of 2004 and spring of 2007, the individuals allegedly used false invoices and shell corporations to obtain $10.9 million in mortgages, keeping $1.1 million of those funds.

The group allegedly targeted 19 mortgage lenders -- including Argent Mortgage, Cherry Creek Mortgage, Lehman Brothers Bank, The Mortgage Store, National City Mortgage, Royal Bank of Canada and Silver State Financial Services.

"This scheme is among the most heinous and well-organized of business rings," Suthers said. "It did a lot of damage."

A statewide grand jury handed down indictments March 21 against the following:

* Uto Essien of Essien &Co. Realty Ltd.
* Scott Hinkley, ABK Enterprise LLC.
* Jennifer Wolsey, ABK Enterprise LLC.
* Idara Ekiko of New Age Finishing LLC.
* Bradley Decker and Cheri Decker of Decker Rentals LLC.
* Jessica Decker of JT Decker Rentals LLC.
* Heather Etuk of Rainbow Renovators LLC.
* Jessica Caplan of Wild Horses Denver Properties LLC.
* Enoh Etuk of The Overcomer Construction Group.

Essien and Hinkley were arrested Monday, at the offices of ABK Mortgage, Suthers said. As of Monday afternoon, they were in Arapahoe County Jail.

The group illegally took cash out of real estate acquisitions, according to the Attorney General's Office. Other allegations include deceiving mortgage lenders to fund their enterprise by falsifying loan applications and/or invoices, as well as using real estate contract amendments related to home improvements.

Suthers alleged that the scheme involved many properties, but his office's current charges involve only 34 properties in Denver, Arapahoe, Adams and Jefferson counties.

Those indicted allegedly used "shell" buyers to acquire houses at inflated prices, telling mortgage lenders that the houses had gotten improvements they actually hadn't, the Attorney General's Office said. Lenders were deceived into paying for the improvements.

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