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Former real estate appraiser admits mortgage fraud

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A former Greene County real estate appraiser pleaded guilty June 2 in federal court to his role in a nearly $11 million mortgage fraud scheme.

Vincent Cantrell, 42, address unknown, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud from Nov. 1, 2004, to June 30, 2006, a period during which he was a Missouri certified appraiser, according to a news release from Beth Phillips, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

Cantrell admitted in his guilty plea he was hired by Springfield real estate company Charles E. Walker Realty Inc. to conduct appraisals on properties that were purchased and resold at artificially inflated prices by the company, associates and investors.

Cantrell submitted 13 artificially inflated reports on 12 properties. He was paid $3,900 for the reports but did not otherwise profit from the scheme, according to the release.

Under federal statutes, Cantrell could be subject to up to 30 years in federal prison without parole and a fine of up to $1 million. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled following completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robyn L. McKee and was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.

Charles E. Walker Realty Inc. owner Charles Walker and his wife, Linda, were among 17 people to be indicted in December 2009 by a federal grand jury for their roles in the mortgage fraud scheme. The indictment claims the company and co-conspirators caused lenders in at least 26 fraudulent real estate transactions to submit loan proceeds of about $10.9 million.

Co-conspirators allegedly received approximately $4.3 million in proceeds. Most of the properties involved in the scheme have gone into foreclosure, according to the release.

The Walkers haven't yet been sentenced.[[In-content Ad]]

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