A former mortgage broker admitted she defrauded banks and mortgage lenders in a
six-year-old scheme that included a pair of buyers, a real estate agent, two Quad-City lawyers and 40 Davenport properties.
Winnifer Elvidge, 58, of LeClaire appeared Friday in U.S. District Court, Davenport, to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud.
She would face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on the conspiracy count, but according to her plea agreement, Elvidge and the government have agreed to a sentence of three years of probation. A sentencing date hasn’t been set.
Elvidge was indicted Nov. 18, 2010, on multiple counts of bank fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud, all of which are being dismissed in exchange for pleading guilty to the conspiracy count.
She operated a brokerage known as Victoria Mortgage in 2005 and 2006, around the time of the scheme.
Her brokerage at 1316 N. Harrison St., Davenport, is now a vacant storefront. When attempting to reach her Thursday, the Times found multiple phone numbers listed for Victoria Mortgage had been disconnected. Other efforts to reach her for comment were unsuccessful.
According to court records:
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The conspiracy involved multi-unit rental properties in depressed areas of Davenport, including properties in the 600 block of West 64th Street and the 6200 block of Western Avenue.
Elvidge and co-conspirators agreed that the paperwork accessible to the bank or lender would indicate that the property was sold at a particular price, inflated above the actual sales price. Based on the inflated price, the buyer would apply for and obtain a mortgage loan, normally larger than the actual sales price.
After closing and after the seller had been paid out of the loan proceeds, the seller would kick back to the buyer the difference between the inflated price and the actual sales price. The conspirators generated not only the kick-back payments but large fees and commissions.
Elvidge worked with a real estate agent, Mary Pat Harper, referring buyers and sellers who were willing to participate in the scheme. Once a willing buyer and seller were on board, Elvidge would find a bank or sub-prime lender willing to advance the loan.
Elvidge deceived the banks and lenders by ensuring they did not receive any documents reflecting the true, lower selling price. She also submitted false information to the banks and lenders in an effort to qualify unqualified buyers.