A suspended Las Vegas lawyer has pleaded guilty in a federal mortgage fraud case and agreed to pay nearly $3.3 million in restitution.
Authorities said the case involved a scheme to obtain mortgage loans from financial institutions using straw buyers and false loan applications.
Attorney Stanley Walton and loan officer Pamela Black were indicted in February 2011 on one count of conspiracy to commit bank, mail and wire fraud.
Walton, 54, pleaded guilty to the charge Wednesday. U.S. District Judge James Mahan is scheduled to sentence him on Aug. 20.
Black, 65, previously pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge. She was sentenced in July 2012 to time served and was ordered to pay about $1.2 million in restitution.
The State Bar of Nevada website indicates that Walton’s law license, which he obtained in 1992, has been suspended.
According to Walton’s plea memorandum, he and others conspired from September 2004 through July 2007 “to fraudulently obtain residential mortgages in order to obtain proceeds from the mortgages for their personal use.”
Walton recruited people to be straw buyers for houses, according to the document, although he “intended to control the ownership interests of the houses, obtain proceeds from the mortgage loans for his own use, and later resell the houses for a profit.”
He advised the straw buyers that he would use their names and credit to purchase the homes and said he would split the profits with them when the homes were resold.
“At the time, the defendant was a licensed attorney in the state of Nevada and held himself out to the straw buyers as an attorney with knowledge and skill in these type of transactions, knowing the straw buyers would and did rely on his status as an attorney in deciding to act as straw buyers,” according to the plea memorandum.
As part of the scheme, Walton also knowingly made false statements in the straw buyers’ loan applications and supporting documents.
Walton then caused loan proceeds to be paid to him by falsely claiming them as attorney’s fees, fraudulently diverting them through real estate agents, and fraudulently having payments made to his company.
He and his co-schemers fraudulently purchased six homes in Henderson and three homes in Las Vegas. He admitted that the loss caused by his criminal conduct was about $3.6 million.
Walton has agreed to the forfeiture of $750,000 in money or property, in addition to the restitution.
Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-384-8710.