CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A former Charleston real estate appraiser who pleaded guilty to a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme in Putnam County could face up to 20 years in federal prison.
Mark E. Greenlee, 50, admitted Thursday to aiding and abetting wire fraud before U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston.
Greenlee, a former president of the Kanawha Valley Board of Realtors, admitted he prepared a fraudulent appraisal in 2006 to advance a mortgage fraud scheme with Deborah Joyce and others at the Stonegate subdivision in Hurricane, according to a statement
from U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin's office.
"Although Greenlee knew that the requested amount was significantly over the listing price, he prepared an inaccurate appraisal," according to federal court documents.
He appraised the 3,475-square-foot property at $645,000, adding more than $300,000 to the original asking price of $360,000.
The former real estate appraiser sent a copy of his appraisal via email to a mortgage broker in Utah, who provided the appraisal to a lender who funded a loan for the property.
Greenlee said he concealed information about some of the property's details on purpose to justify the inflated figure.
One of the items the appraiser concealed was that another home in the subdivision had been bought by an associate of Joyce's for $375,000 and sold the same day to an investor in Utah for $660,000.
Greenlee said he then altered his appraisal of the Stonegate property in light of an investigation conducted by the West Virginia Real Estate Appraiser and Licensing Certification Board into the appraisals he provided for Joyce and others involved in the
The transaction with the Utah investor closed in December of 2006 on the basis of the appraisal and the investor then tried to "re-flip" the property.
Once the investor discovered the true value of the home it was put back on the market for the original asking price of $360,000. The house received little interest and was sold in August 2008 for $282,500.
Greenlee is the second real estate appraiser prosecuted in the scheme, according to the release. James R. Thornton admitted in June that he also aided and abetted the scheme. Thornton falsified the appraisal for a property at 45 Spruce Ridge Dr. and sent
it via email to a Utah mortgage broker.
Joyce was sentenced in April to 46 months in federal prison for her role in the scheme, which ultimately resulted in $2 million in losses to lenders on six properties. Her husband, Todd Joyce, was sentenced to 18 months.
Thornton's sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 29. Greenlee faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 when he is sentenced Dec. 8.
Detectives with the FBI and IRS are still investigating. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Ryan is handling the prosecution.
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