While six Utah residents attempt to suppress evidence against them in what prosecutors are calling an $18 million mortgage fraud scheme, federal officials have expanded charges against them.
On Tuesday, attorneys for Bradley Grant Kitchen, David R. Bolick, Steve Wells Cloward, Ron K. Clarke, Jeffrey David Garrett and Rebecca Ann Hadlock appeared in court to ask U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart to suppress evidence against their clients.
On the same day, the group was also arraigned on an expanded indictment handed down against them by a federal grand jury last week. All six entered pleas of not guilty to charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit a crime.
According to the indictment, the group, who held various positions in the real-estate industry, formed a network to obtain a series of loans on properties at Provo's posh River Bottoms area. The group then inflated the market values of the properties. Kitchen and Bolick allegedly agreed to conduct property purchases through Bolick's company, Home Owners Group (HOG), backed up by another of Bolick's companies, Paragon Investment Group (PIG). The two then purchased properties using false statements on loan applications and using false appraisals to inflate the market values of the properties.
Kitchen and Bolick are also accused of recruiting "straw buyers" who allowed them to use their credit to secure loans. The indictment states that loan applications contained overstatements of income, claims of non-existent assets for several thousand up to several million dollars and false occupancy declarations. Down payments were also listed when in fact there were no down payments.
The loans were sent through Countrywide Home Mortgage and American Broker's Conduit in California and New York for funding.
Federal prosecutors say around three lower-level participants in the scheme have agreed to testify against the group if the case goes to trial. Among them is KUTV Channel 2 sports anchor/reporter Dave Fox, who pleaded guilty last September to communication fraud. Fox was sentenced to 36 months, which is being held in abeyance as long as Fox follows the agreement.Stewart is expected to rule on what evidence the government will be able to use against the group.
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