Savannah man sentenced to federal prison for nearly $ 3 million in flipping fraud
According to the South Georgia District Attorney’s Office, a Savannah man who concocted a scheme to get rich by repeatedly borrowing money against the same property will go to jail for fraud. He used the scheme for just under $ 3 million in fraudulent loans from several financial institutions. The properties used were located in Savannah, Hinesville, Glennville, Midway and Allenhurst.
Extract from the press release:
Christopher Grooms, 41, of Savannah, pleaded guilty to a report accusing him of wire fraud. U.S. District Court Judge R. Stan Baker sentenced Grooms to 33 months in federal prison, ordered him to pay $ 1,645,267.95 in restitution and a forfeiture judgment totaling $ 2,937,881.43, David said H. Estes, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. At the end of his prison sentence, Grooms must serve four years of supervised release.
There is no parole in the federal system.
“Financial fraud temporarily enriches criminals at the long-term expense of legitimate businesses,” Acting US Attorney Estes said. “As Christopher Grooms discovered, our law enforcement partners are adept at eliminating these schemes, and his ill-conceived investment in criminal activity pays a dividend of time behind bars.”
As described in court documents and testimony, Grooms operated several real estate investment companies that bought and resold real estate. From 2013 to 2018, Grooms devised a scheme in which one of his companies would buy a property using borrowed funds and then forge documents to show that the lien on the property had been satisfied. He would then guarantee additional loans against the property, repeatedly filing fraudulent documents to show that the property was not encumbered with liens.
Grooms used the scheme at least 24 times for nearly $ 3 million in fraudulent loans from several financial institutions. The properties used in the project were located in cities in Georgia, including Savannah, Hinesville, Glennville, Midway and Allenhurst.
“The Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of the Inspector General (FHFA-OIG) is committed to holding accountable those who waste, steal or abuse the resources of government-sponsored companies regulated by the FHFA. We are proud to have partnered with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia in this matter, ”said Edwin S. Bonano, Special Agent in Charge, FHFA-OIG, South Region. is.
“This sentence should serve as a stark reminder that such greed as seen in this case comes at a higher cost,” said Chris Hacker, special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta. “The FBI recognizes the impact on the banking institution and will continue to devote investigative resources to targeting fraud in its many forms.”
“Committing high-level fraud will not be tolerated in Georgia,” said Vic Reynolds, director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI). “The GBI has been working hard on this investigation with local and federal partners to bring this case to fruition.”
The case was investigated by the FBI, the Office of the Inspector General of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the GBI and the Tattnall County Sheriff’s Office, and prosecuted for the States -United by Assistant US Prosecutors Tara M. Lyons and Head of the Asset Recovery Unit Xavier A Cunningham.