By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun
6:21 PM EDT, October 7, 2011
A Severna Park mortgage broker pleaded guilty Friday in a mortgage fraud case that left lenders with more than $940,000 in losses, robbed homeowners of at least $1.2 million in home equity and pushed 16 homes into foreclosure, the Maryland U.S. attorney's office said.
Mary Anne Dean, 60, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Charles Donaldson, a loan officer described as her co-conspirator, pleaded guilty last week.
The Maryland U.S. attorney's office said Donaldson, 57, recruited homeowners struggling with their mortgages for what he said would be a foreclosure rescue plan: They would sell their homes to investors, remain there as renters for a year or so and then buy the properties back after repairing their finances.
Dean brokered loans for the "investors" — Donaldson's relatives and acquaintances — by submitting mortgage applications with inflated income and other false information, according to their plea agreements. Donaldson promised participants that he would hold most of the homeowners' equity in an escrow account to help with the payments.
Instead, Donaldson spent much of the homeowners' equity, according to the plea agreement. That left both the investors and the former homeowners in dire straits, unable to make payments. Thirteen homes have been taken back by lenders and three more are tied up in foreclosure proceedings, the Maryland U.S. attorney's office said.
Dean and Donaldson are scheduled for sentencing in January. The maximum punishment is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
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