November 19, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Nora R. Dannehy, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal grand jury sitting in Bridgeport has returned an indictment charging THOMAS PRESTON, 49, of Norwalk, with one count of making a false statement on a mortgage loan application.
The indictment was returned on October 7. Today, PRESTON appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons in Bridgeport and entered a plea of not guilty to the charge. Following the arraignment, PRESTON was released on a personal recognizance bond.
According to the indictment, PRESTON owned and managed a real estate appraisal company known as Redding Appraisers, and provided appraisals of real and commercial real estate in Connecticut to real estate agents. On approximately October 23, 2006, PRESTON did knowingly and willfully make a false statement or report in a mortgage loan application submitted to IndyMac Bank, a financial institution headquartered in Pasadena, California. The false statement related to a real estate appraisal that he made, which he knew would be submitted with the mortgage loan application, on a residential property in Westport, Connecticut. The appraisal stated that the property had three habitable floors when, in fact, it had only two habitable floors. The alleged false statement allowed PRESTON to justify his appraisal that the property was worth $2.7 million, which corresponded with the stated value in the loan application.
If convicted of the charge, PRESTON faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years and a fine of up to $1 million.
U.S. Attorney Dannehy stressed that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial at which it is the Government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rahul Kale.
In July 2009, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced the formation of the Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force to investigate and prosecute mortgage fraud cases and related financial crimes occurring in Connecticut. In addition to investigating past mortgage fraud schemes, the Task Force will focus on emerging crime trends that are associated with the growing tide of foreclosures, including “foreclosure rescue” schemes, and “short sale” schemes. Citizens are encouraged to report any suspected mortgage fraud activity by calling 203-333-3512 and requesting the Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force, or by sending an e-mail to ctmortgagefraud (at) ic.fbi (dot) gov.
The Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force includes representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General; Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General, and State of Connecticut Department of Banking.
United States Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut
Contact: (203) 821-3700