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Guilty plea entered in mortgage case
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer
An Indianapolis woman with ties to Henry County has pleaded guilty in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme in Indiana.
Tamara E. Scott, also known as Tamara Penn, 49, of Indianapolis, was among seven people recently charged in connection with the scheme, according to documents from the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Indiana.
According to previous reports, Scott's husband was Robert Penn, the son of Beulah Penn, a former Ridgeway resident.
According to the plea agreement, Scott pleaded guilty to money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Both charges are felonies. The conspiracy charge may be punished by a prison term of up to five years and a fine of up to $250,000, according to court documents. The money laundering charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine, documents show.
According to the terms of the plea agreement, Scott agreed to cooperate with the government and testify before grand juries or at trials.
According to an information included with the documents, Scott and co-conspirators allegedly found properties and arranged to buy them at fair market value. They then allegedly found investors who were willing to use their good credit, but no money, to buy the properties at much higher prices than those negotiated with the sellers.
Before the sales were closed, the conspirators arranged for the investors, many of whom were Henry County residents, to obtain loans for 80 to 90 percent of the inflated sales prices, court documents allege.
The local residents allegedly were duped into providing personal information on the guise of joining a real estate investment club, according to previous reports and court documents.
Scott was among co-conspirators who traveled to the Martinsville area to recruit investors, documents allege.
Many of the investors were friends and relatives of one of the alleged co-conspirators, the documents said. In most cases, investors never saw the properties they were buying.
According to a Fraud Loss Calculation sheet included in court documents, 130 properties were related to Scott's involvement in the conspiracy, and the loss was more than $6.1 million.
The combined sales prices of the properties listed was more than $17.9 million, the calculation sheet shows. It says the fair market value of the properties ranged from $22,500 to $390,000, with an average estimated at $50,000 or $60,000.
The sales prices ranged from $62,000 to $550,000, the sheet shows.