Never trust a masked man.
Never trust a masked man.

Adrian Levale Cole and Albert Terrance Watkins: Each Gets at Least Nine Years for Multimillion Bogus-Mortgage Scam

If you're running a mortgage scam and using a shadow company you've called Phantom Marketing, you're: a) Extremely ballsy b) Extremely dumb c) Like the serial killer who writes "Stop me before I kill again" at the crime scene.

Adrian Levale Cole and Albert Terrance Watkins will have plenty of time to ponder the answer to this question, because they have just been sentenced to nine years and 12 and a half years, respectively, in federal prison for their roles in a $10 million mortgage fraud scheme.

The two recruited people with good credit scores to apply for mortgages at various places and then did some shuffling to rake in big bucks as banks got stuck with defaulted loans.

One example, according to prosecutors:

in December 2004 Cole purchased a Houston residential property for $110,000, an "inflated" sales price, using a false Social Security number belonging to a minor on the home mortgage loan application with a "created" line of credit that was ultimately approved for $99,000. Loan funds from the bank account of the lender, People's Choice Home Loans Inc., were wired into the bank account of the title company.

Out of the loan proceeds, a check in the amount of $69,100 issued to AC Homes, Cole's company, as a "Contractor Loan." No construction work of any kind was ever done by AC Homes on that property located in Houston. On June 23, 2005, Cole sold this property to a "straw purchaser," who purchased it for a greater "inflated" sales price of $150,000. According to the title file, $105,000 went to pay off Cole mortgage loan and $39,551.33 cash went to seller, Cole.

No improvements were ever done to this property. The straw buyer defaulted on $150,000 in loans and the loss to bank, after resale of the foreclosed home, has been determined to be $105,128.

Cole and Watkins have also been ordered to pay restitution to the financial institutions they defrauded.

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