A 64-year-old Grand Prairie man has been sentenced to federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to commit bank fraud and perjury in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston today.
Melvin Ray Layman pleaded guilty on July 20, 2016, to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiracy t commit perjury and was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison on Jan. 11, 2017 by U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone. Layman was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $111,744.
According to information presented in court, from July 2014 to September 2015, Layman conspired with Daylon Esaw to execute a scheme to defraud financial institutions by forging distressed borrowers’ signatures on quitclaim deeds purported to grant ownership of the properties from the true owners to Esaw. Layman and Esaw then filed civil law suits in Dallas County District Courts against the financial institutions that asserted a fraudulent ownership interest in the properties. Layman and Esaw then sought to force the financial institutions to either pay them a settlement to clear up the titles or allow Layman and Esaw to short sell the properties. Layman and Esaw intended to split the proceeds from their scheme when they were successful. Additionally, from November 2011 to June 2013, Layman conspired with Rebecca Quinn and others to make a false statement to the Grand Jury of the United States District Court in the Eastern District of Texas in regards to a mortgage fraud investigation. Quinn had been subpoenaed to testify in the Grand Jury about the use of her notary on certain mortgage documents. Layman met with Quinn prior to her testimony, so that they could strategize on how she would lie to the Grand Jury about the use of her notary. On June 12, 2013, Quinn appeared before the Grand Jury and while under oath made false statements about the use of her notary on certain mortgage documents.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to prosecuting and holding responsible those who are engaged in fraud, including the type of mortgage fraud that led to this prosecution,” said Acting United States Attorney Brit Featherston. “The defendants in this case engaged in activities that caused losses to multiple mortgage lenders as well as the Department of Housing and Urban Development, along with fraudulent documents filed in the Dallas County deed records and district court records. Compounding this activity was the defendant’s conspiracy with others to make false statements before a United States grand jury, related to a separate mortgage fraud scheme. Thanks to the diligent work by Special Agents with the Office of Inspector General of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, this activity was investigated and successfully prosecuted.”
FHFA-OIG Special Agent in Charge Tim Mowery said, “The act of victimizing distressed home owners who are at risk of losing their homes is a despicable act. When individuals exploit the foreclosure process for their personal gain, FHFA-OIG will pursue those perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Thomas M. Class Sr. said, “The FBI is committed to holding those accountable who undermine the financial security of our citizens and institutions through fraud schemes. Hijacking the foreclosure system impacts homeowners when they are most vulnerable and will not be tolerated.”
“It is always disturbing when individuals choose to engage in actions to defraud the government,” said Phyllis Robinson, Special Agent in Charge, HUD Office of the Inspector General. “Our office will continue to partner with federal prosecutors and the law enforcement community to aggressively pursue those that seek to undermine federal housing programs,” she concluded.
This case was investigated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG).