Three locals indicted on multiple counts

by | 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

Money Laundering.  

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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

others. 

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.

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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

be located.

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