Ian Pike 9:20 a.m., May 21
Local mortgage banker lands 10 year prison sentence
Con man inflicted losses on AZ bank large enough to close it down
San Diego mortgage originator Thomas Gregory Alexander has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison and ordered to pay over $5.4 million in restitution for running a scam that caused an Arizona bank to lose tens of millions of dollars, eventually forcing it to be acquired by a competitor, the website Yuma News Now reports.
Alexander worked between 2005 and 2007 originating loans through American Mortgage Funding that were funded by Mesa Bank, now known as Sunrise Bank of Arizona. The loans were used to buy vacant land and construct custom homes – some of the lots were also owned by Sea Rock LLC – a company Alexander also owned, which he did not disclose to potential buyers.
Frequently asking prospective borrowers to sign a blank loan application, Alexander and his associates would then fill the document with false information before submitting it to the bank. Frequent misinformation on the applications included overstating the borrower’s income and assets, making it appear as if the borrower was making a down payment when in fact the purchases were completed without any investment from the buyer, and falsely stating that the borrower intended to occupy the home as a primary residence once constructed.
From there, the scammers would generate more fake documents including falsified Verification of Deposit and Verification of Employment forms to corroborate the numbers on the bogus loan applications.
Mesa Bank issued over $40 million in loans to Alexander’s outfit, which led to tens of millions in losses. Financial woes related to his scheme eventually led to the Sunrise Bank of Arizona merger.