AUSTIN, TX – November 9, 2007 – A district court in Houston has sentenced Stevie L. Johnson, a former licensed Escrow Officer, to 40 years in prison for his part in a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scam in the Houston area. The case, heard before Judge Brian Rains of the 176th District Court, involved the fraudulent acquisition of mortgage loans associated with approximately 300 residential properties valued at nearly $40 million. The prosecution was the result of a long-term investigation by the Consumer Fraud Division of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) Fraud Unit. TDI is the state regulatory agency responsible for licensing title insurance companies, title agents and escrow officers.
Two other defendants in the case were previously convicted for their part in the fraud scheme; Mark A. Jones was sentenced to 25 Years in 232nd District Court and Reginald Washington was sentenced to 8 years in the 184th District Court.
Markay Stroud, the Assistant District Attorney in Harris County responsible for prosecuting Johnson’s case, emphasized that the investigation is ongoing and additional indictments are expected.
Earlier this year, the 80th Texas Legislature took action to address mortgage fraud by creating the Texas Residential Mortgage Fraud Task Force under House Bill 716, authored by Rep. Burt Solomons (R-Carrollton) and Sen. Kip Averitt (R-Waco). The 2007 legislation was intended to reduce false or misleading information on residential home loan applications by increasing cooperation among regulators and requiring new disclosures at closing.
For more information contact: PIO (at) tdi.state.tx (dot) us