YEADON, Pa. (CBS) – A Delaware County man has been charged with participating in a mortgage fraud conspiracy that involved more than $20 million in fraudulent loan proceeds and more than 100 properties in Philadelphia.
Eric Ponder, 43, allegedly participated in the conspiracy, which operated between May 2004 and February 2009, primarily in West Philadelphia.
Ponder, who billed himself as a real estate developer, is alleged to have helped submit numerous fraudulent loan applications that resulted in mortgages issued by various banks. Ponder is also accused of knowingly making false statements on loan applications in his own name and helping to secure mortgages in the names of others by recruiting “straw buyers” whose IDs and information was used to obtain the loans. He also allegedly submitted false invoices for construction work that was never performed on the properties in order to justify payments from the settlement proceeds of loans in the names of his straw buyers.
Officials say the conspiracy also included grossly inflated appraisals, false title insurance policies, false receipts for home repairs that were never performed, and straw buyers who knowingly allowed their names and identities to be used to purchase the properties and defraud the banks.
At the center of the conspiracy, police say, is the Philadelphia-based property settlement company “KREW Settlement Services.” Most of the mortgages were unpaid and the properties fell into foreclosure.
If convicted, Eric Ponder faces a maximum sentence of 55 years in prison.