EAGLE MOUNTAIN The Utah Attorney General's Office filed charges Wednesday against a former Eagle Mountain mayoral candidate, alleging he and his wife committed several counts of mortgage-related fraud.
Richard Culbertson, an attorney and Realtor, and his wife, Kathleen, submitted loan applications using false information, forged signatures and inflated incomes of people named in the application, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed in 4th District Court.
The couple is also alleged to have submitted loan applications while promising lenders that certain improvements like basement finishing and landscaping would be done, according to the affidavit.
Instead, those improvement funds allegedly went to Richard Culbertson for personal use.
Culbertson, when contacted at his law firm in Saratoga Springs late Wednesday, said he had no comment and was not inclined to have his attorney comment at this point, either. Culbertson ran for Eagle Mountain mayor in November and lost to Heather Jackson, who was on the City Council.
The Utah Attorney General's Office charged the Culbertsons with three counts each of communications fraud, as well as one count each of pattern of unlawful activity all second-degree felonies. Officials also issued warrants for the couple with a bail amount of $25,000, according to court records.
According to the affidavit, Richard Culbertson admitted to investigators at the Utah Division of Real Estate that he had used his daughter's identifying information to purchase his home and others in Eagle Mountain.
The daughter reportedly told investigators that her father asked her to take out a loan as the primary resident so the Culbertsons could get a lower mortgage payment. But the daughter never lived there her dad and stepmother did, according to the affidavit.
Richard Culbertson also allegedly admitted to forging his daughter's signature on the loan and inflating her income by $4,000.
"The serious threat of mortgage fraud and its effects upon each and every homeowner in Utah is potentially staggering," Scott Reed, criminal justice division chief for the Attorney General's Office, said in a statement. His division prosecutes such cases.
"Mortgage fraud is spreading like wildfire, and real people are losing real money," Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said in a statement.
To help with that, prosecutors can rely on the recently passed SB134, which creates a new category of mortgage fraud and allocates $150,000 to the Attorney General's Office to prosecute those cases.
The Attorney General's Office also alleges that Richard Culbertson diverted proceeds from the loans to limited liability companies he controlled to conceal the cash flow.The Culbertsons' daughter also told investigators that during previous conversations with her father and stepmother they told her it is normal to file appraisals showing anticipated work but keep the money for personal use, according to the affidavit.
Contributing: Catherine Smith