Prosecutor O’Brien Unseals Secret Indictment On Las Vegas Man In $1.2 Million Fraudulent Mortgage Loan Activity

Posted on 8/1/2013

Defendant: Donald Landers

Prosecutor Ron O’Brien announces today that the Franklin County Grand Jury has returned a 24 count mortgage fraud and short sale fraud indictment against Donald P. Landers, aka Dante Brickman, age 42, after Landers was arrested in Las Vegas. The activity in the indictment spans a 12 month time frame and the charges range from Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, Theft, Money Laundering, and Receiving Stolen Property.

It is alleged that Landers located real properties in Franklin County that were in foreclosure. Landers, doing business as Great American LLC, would negotiate a short sale of the property with the lender to sell the property to Great American LLC at a much reduced amount. Landers would use false and fraudulent information supplied to the lender to convince the lender that the property was worth much less than market value due to poor condition, poor location or difficulty in selling.

At the same time, Landers would recruit straw buyers to buy the same property from Great American for an inflated price. Landers obtained financing through another related entity, APEX Financial Group, formerly of Hilliard, Ohio. Landers fraudulently obtained financing for the straw buyers by submitting loan applications to a variety of lenders which falsely inflated the net worth of the straw buyer while at the same time falsely understating their debt. The closings for the short sale and the subsequent purchase of the property were both conducted at Premiere Title Agency, formerly of Dublin, Ohio, simultaneously. The loan proceeds from the straw buyer’s purchase of the property funded the short sale payoff negotiated for Great American in the foreclosure. The difference between the low short sale amount and the inflated sales price for the straw buyer purchase was paid to Lander’s company, Great American LLC. Down payments for the straw buyers purchases were actually funded through loan proceeds, not the buyers own assets. The straw buyers would receive a kick-back from the loan proceeds for their participation in this scheme.

Landers utilized this scheme with eleven properties in Franklin County, including two of his own properties that were in default due to the non-payment of his own mortgages. Most of the loans obtained fraudulently have since gone into default and foreclosure.

The investigation was conducted by the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office, the Columbus Division of Police and the Central Ohio Mortgage Fraud Task Force of the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, a division of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.