Three locals indicted on multiple counts
by Emanuel County Live | February 26, 2010 12:00 am
Swainsboro residents Brian and Natasha
Steptoe, and Swainsboro attorney John R. Thompson were indicted on
separate indictments by a Grand Jury in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of Georgia, Statesboro Division.
The indictments were filed on February 3, 2010 and released
Thursday, February 25, 2010. The indictments
are as follows: Conspiracy, Bank Fraud, Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud and
Brian and Natasha Steptoe, a married couple,
were named in all five indictments, and Thompson is named in each
count except money laundering. The counts
stem from the alleged sale of a property located at 54 Spivey
Lane. Bank of America issued a mortgage and
loan of $401,600 related to the sale of the Property.
The first count indicts the three for
conspiracy. The three allegedly aided and
abetted each other and others a false HUD-1 Settlement Statement
Form prepared and submitted by mail, facsimile or other means to
make a false loan application and supporting documentation with
materially false or misleading information to induce Bank of
America to make a loan to a person only named in the indictments as
“H.W.” On or about August 23, 2007, Thompson
received at least $10,000 in proceeds from the loan fraudulently
obtained for the purchase of the Property.
In furtherance of the conspiracy, to affect
the illegal objects thereof, and to further conceal the conspiracy,
the conspirators committed the following acts, among
The second count, bank fraud, states that the
three, aided and abetted by others known and unknown to the Grand
Jury, did knowingly and willingly devise, execute and attempt to
execute a scheme and artifice to defraud and obtain moneys owned by
and under the custody and control of Bank of America by means of
false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises.
The third count, wire fraud, alleges that the
three and others in or about July 2007 through in or about May,
2008, devised a scheme to defraud Bank of America and to obtain
money and property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses and
promises. On or about August 21, 2007, a
wire transfer of approximately $401,600 was wired from Bank of
America in Richmond Virginia to the escrow account of Thompson for
the purchase of the property.
The fourth count alleges that the three, aided
and abetted by others, submitted fraudulent loan applications
containing false statements with respect to the buyer’s income,
employer, assets, and down payment funds, and a fraudulent HUD-1
Form containing false statements in order to induce Bank of America
to provide a mortgage loan to close the sale of the property.
The fifth count, money laundering, applies
only to Brian and Natasha Steptoe.
Allegedly, the couple used $37,954.66 of the proceeds from the sale
of the Property to cause cashier’s checks to be issued
to Natasha Steptoe and subsequently re-deposited.
Telephone calls to Thompson’s office and home
were not returned as of Friday afternoon. A
contact number for Brian and Natasha Steptoe could not immediately