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HousingWire Magazine: December 2021/ January 2022

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Former JPMorgan Chase loan officer pleads guilty for $33 million mortgage fraud scheme

Conspiracy occurred during 2006 and 2007

A former senior loan officer at JPMorgan Chase Bank admitted in court last week that he took part in a massive mortgage fraud scheme during the height of the mortgage boom that cost the bank more than $33 million.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, Ross Pickard, 63, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit loan and credit application fraud for his role in the fraud scheme.

Per the plea agreement, Pickard was a senior loan officer at JP Morgan Chase Bank. 

Between January 2006 and July 2007, Pickard conspired with others to defraud the bank by completing, certifying, and submitting mortgage loan applications on behalf of borrowers that contained false and fraudulent statements.

According to the plea agreement, Pickard, and others, submitted loan applications to Chase on behalf of buyers who had good credit scores to buy residential real property in Sarasota, Orlando, Bradenton and Clearwater, Florida, for investment purposes.

But Pickard and others knowingly made false and fraudulent statements, representations and promises, willfully concealed the truth about the borrowers in question, including:

  • The intended use of the property by the borrower
  • The income of the borrower
  • The assets of the borrower
  • The liabilities of the borrower

As a result of Pickard’s actions, Chase suffered losses exceeding $33 million.

Pickard faced one count of conspiracy and three counts of loan and credit application fraud.

While he faced up to 5 years in federal prison for the conspiracy count and up to 30 years on each of the fraud counts, based upon his plea agreement, Pickard faces a maximum sentence of five years.

In a statement issued to HousingWire, a spokesperson for Chase said: “This was an isolated incident involving a former employee nearly ten years ago. Any customer issues have since been resolved and we’ve been fully cooperative with the government in their investigation.”

[Update: This article is updated with a statement from Chase.]

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