Bellevue man sentenced mortgage fraud scheme

A judge has sentenced William Anderson, 49, of Bellevue to five years in prison as part of a mortgage fraud scheme.

Anderson worked at an escrow company owned by Robert E. Brandt, 42, of Kirkland. Federal officials said the two men and at least 10 others carried out an extensive mortgage fraud scheme between 2004 and 2005 that involved flipping houses and targeting "straw buyers." Brandt was sentenced to 78 months in federal prison.

U.S. District Judge Richard Jones called the men "a two-person wrecking crew in the mortgage industry. Money was your goal, and greed was your facilitator," Jones added.

Federal officials say the scheme involved identifying houses and would use shell companies or third parties to purchase the homes."

The conspirators would locate buyers who'd agree to buy the house at an inflated price, then helped them draw up false documents to make them appear qualified for large mortgages, investigators said. After the deal, the parties split the proceeds while the homeowner inevitably defaulted on mortgage payments and the lender foreclosed on the home.

Brandt, Anderson and their co-conspirators caused mortgage lenders and individuals to lose more than $7 million, officials said.

Brandt ran a company called Escrow Authority that closed the sales of the homes, investigators said. He also allowed co-conspirators to use funds from his lawyer's trust account to buy the homes that were flipped soon after. Anderson has admitted to operating some of the shell companies involved in the scheme.

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