A Boulder man has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for bank fraud, selling bogus home mortgages, valued at just under $32 million.
Michael Scott Leslie almost committed aggravated identity theft as part of the multimillion dollar scam in which he sold bogus residential mortgage loans to investors, including an FDIC-insured bank in Texas, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Colorado, news release.
“Between October 2015 and October 2017, Leslie devised and executed a scheme to defraud the victim bank by selling it 144 fraudulent residential mortgage loans valued at $31,908,806,” according to the release.
“Loans sold to the victim bank were not, in fact, real loans,” the release said. “The borrowers listed on these 144 fraudulent loans were real individuals, but they had no idea that their identities had been used as part of the sale of the fraudulent loans.”
According to a plea agreement in the case: “Leslie owned, operated, or otherwise had an interest in several business entities, some of which were operated out of Colorado.”
These loans were originated by Montage Mortgage and closed by a company known as Snowberry. “Leslie never disclosed to the victim bank that he operated” the companies, the release said.
Leslie recycled borrowers’ information, obtained through prior legitimate transactions or attempted refinances, to create and sell nearly $32 million of fraudulent loan packages, according to the release.
“Five years in federal prison is an appropriate sentence for a fraudster that stole personal identities and used them to steal millions of dollars from a legitimate business,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn in the release. “Thanks to the hard work of the investigating agencies and the prosecution team in my office, not only will Mr. Leslie have several years in prison to contemplate his actions, but other such criminals are on notice that we take economic crime seriously and will prosecute them to the full extent of the law.”
Leslie was ordered to report to a Bureau of Prisons facility on Jan. 4. He was sentenced on Friday by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Philip A. Brimmer. Leslie pleaded guilty in the case on July 21.
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