Convicted Felon Gets More Prison Time for Kirby Lofts Scheme
A former Houston resident has been sentenced to 57 months in federal prison for her role in obtaining home loans in the Kirby Lofts condominium complex.
Brenda East, 51, who is currently serving 58 months in federal prison for an unrelated conviction, pleaded guilty to the offense May 25, 2011.
East pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud arising from the scheme to defraud residential lenders in connection with single family residences and individual condominium purchases in a building located at 917 Main in Houston, The Kirby Lofts.
The Kirby Lofts and other single family homes were sham sales. From about December 2004 to October 2006, East, along with other co-conspirators, recruited individuals with good credit to act as borrowers in applications for mortgage loans to purchase units in Kirby Lofts and elsewhere. East assisted these “straw borrowers” with providing false information and documents, including bogus tax letters and false verifications of bank balances and employment, to induce lenders to fund residential home purchases. Co-conspirators submitted fake invoices for payment from loan proceeds and used the money to pay East, themselves and straw borrowers from loan proceeds.
U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal today ordered East to begin serving the 57-month prison term in 2014, after she completes her current term of imprisonment for an unrelated case in which she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft in September 2009.
Rosenthal also ordered she pay $2.2 million in restitution and will be on supervised release for three years once she is finally released from prison.
Co-conspirators Derwin Frazier, 47, and Veronica Frazier, 45, both of Pearland, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and are pending sentencing on Nov. 26. Duane Wardell, 51, of Palestine, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and is awaiting sentencing on Dec. 14.
The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the FBI and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Belinda Beek and Martha Minnis are prosecuting the case.