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Charles Walker, others plead guilty to mortgage fraud scheme

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Charles E. Walker, 58, his wife, Linda F. Walker, 59, and their son, Lee Edward Walker, 35, have pleaded guilty to their roles in a nearly $11 million mortgage fraud scheme involving Springfield real estate company Charles E. Walker Realty Inc.

Steve Casarez Jr., 34, Laura Greer, 42, Linda Hanks, 40, James Powell, 73, and Eddie Rohrs, 38, also admitted to being a part of the conspiracy. All eight people pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in separate appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. England, according to a news release from Beth Phillips, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

Charles Walker, who was the owner of Charles E. Walker Realty, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering.

All eight who pleaded guilty were named among 17 people indicted in December 2009 by a federal grand jury. The indictment alleged that Charles E. Walker Realty, its owner and associates caused lenders in at least 26 fraudulent real estate transactions to transmit loan proceeds for residential properties at inflated values between Nov. 1, 2004, and June 30, 2006, according to Springfield Business Journal archives.

According to the indictment, Charles Walker caused lenders in the fraudulent transactions to transmit loan proceeds of about $10.9 million, resulting in $4.3 million in proceeds going to the co-conspirators.

Linda Walker, Lee Walker and Hanks were licensed real estate agents and investors at Walker Realty; Casarez was a mortgage broker and investor at the firm; and Powell and Rohrs were investors at the firm.

In his guilty plea, Charles Walker admitted that he participated in, directed and facilitated each fraudulent real estate transaction related to all 26 properties involved. As a result of the scheme, Walker received more than $1 million in proceeds.

Linda Walker admitted she was involved in two separate real estate transactions and that she and her husband received $110,579.

Lee Walker admitted to receiving $359,938 in loan proceeds with his father for seven real estate transactions totaling more than $3 million.

Powell admitted to buying and selling eight artificially inflated residential real estate properties at $4.2 million, for which he received $921,962. On two occasions - including the purchase of a $1.1 million home - Powell received illegal kickbacks, and on six occasions, he sold homes to other investors, paying kickbacks to the buyers, the release said.

Casarez admitted that he submitted five mortgage loan applications which he knew contained false income and employment information. The applications, submitted for himself and on behalf of other borrowers, resulted in more than $2.3 million in kickbacks.

Federal statutes stipulate that each defendant could face up to 30 years in federal prison without parole, a fine of up to $1 million and an order of restitution. Charles Walker is subject to an additional sentence for the money laundering conspiracy conviction, for which he could face up to 10 years in federal prison without parole, a fine of up to $250,000 and an order of restitution.

Sentencing hearings will be scheduled following completion of presentence investigations by the U.S. Probation Office.[[In-content Ad]]


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