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Closer to plead guilty to mortgage fraud conspiracy

TAMPA — A St. Petersburg mortgage company employee has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud, according to records filed Tuesday in federal court.

Randolph "Randy" Allen Griffin has admitted to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, a charge that carries up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich hasn't been set.

Griffin, who conducted real estate closings at Diamond Title and Associates, admitted falsifying records on at least three closings for an unnamed co-conspirator, according to his plea agreement. Prosecutors estimated the amount of money obtained through fraudulently authorized loans at more than $5.3 million. Records show the calculated loss to be $1 million to $2.5 million.

One of the loans was for a property at 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. in Miami Beach, which sold for nearly $1.8 million. As the closing agent, Griffin had three primary responsibilities: Ensure that the loan documents were properly executed, that the mortgage was the first and only lien on the property, and that the borrower signed a settlement sheet approved by the lender that reflected his paying a minimum of $532,500 cash at the closing.

Prosecutors said Griffin and the unnamed co-conspirator lied about the money and the other transactions. The other two fraudulent closings done by Griffin were also on properties in Miami.

Closer to plead guilty to mortgage fraud conspiracy 07/14/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 2:38pm]

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