Bowdoin’s New Lawyer Has Another Big Case; Feds Charge Florida Home-Builder Scott Fawcett In Multi-Agency Operation Dubbed ‘The Mortgage Fraud Surge’
Michael R.N. McDonnell is the attorney for a Florida man charged Tuesday with obtaining $388,000 in a mortgage-fraud scheme, according to the Naples Daily News.
McDonnell, a lawyer for nearly 40 years, recently was retained to represent AdSurfDaily President Andy Bowdoin in a civil-forfeiture case involving tens of millions of dollars seized from Bowdoin’s bank accounts by the U.S. Secret Service last year in a wire-fraud, money-laundering and Ponzi scheme probe.
Scott Fawcett, McDonnell’s client in the mortgage-fraud case, was accused of saying he had an account balance of $353.209.09 at Bank United when he had only $13.57 in the account, according to an information filed by federal prosecutors.
The charge against Fawcett is part of a federal law-enforcement operation known as “The Mortgage Fraud Surge,” a joint effort by the U.S. Attorneyâ€™s Office for the Middle District of Florida, the FBI in Tampa and Jacksonville, “and numerous other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies,” prosecutors said.
Foreclosures are piling up in Florida, which has experienced nine bank failures this year, including three yesterday. Florida trails only California in foreclosure volume. Bank United’s predecessor company — Bank United FSB — failed in May 2009, costing the FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund an estimated $4.9 billion.
The charge against Fawcett is filed in the Fort Myers Division of U.S. District Court for the Central District of Florida.
Fawcett’s name is associated with more than a dozen foreclosure filings in Collier County, Fla., court records show. A person identified only as “H.F.” was named in the information as a co-applicant and co-owner of the account, but was not named a defendant.
Fawcett is married to model Heather Fawcett, once listed as a member of the Miami Caliente of the upstart Lingerie Football League. Heather Fawcett’s listing on a website known as Model Mayhem includes a note that she was expecting a baby in September.
Separately, Debra Landberg, a notary public, was indicted earlier in October — also in Fort Myers — on charges of fraud for helping “S.F.” and “H.F” get the loan that resulted in the charge against Scott Fawcett. The indictment against Landberg accuses her of helping “S.F.” get about $2.27 million in fraudulent loans by verifying fraudulent balances in accounts.
Landberg was indicted on three counts of fraud and one count of lying to FBI agents. In the other fraudulent mortgage deals, according to the indictment, “S.F.” was said to have an account balance of $177,655.58, when the actual balance was $957.18, and an account balance of $146,264.77, when the actual balance was $1,774.50.
Prosecutors are seeking forfeitures against Landberg and Scott Fawcett. The first fraudulent transaction involving Bank United occurred on July 19, 2006; the second transaction occurred April 17, 2007, according to court filings.
The third — and largest fraudulent transaction — involved Citibank and the sum of $1.5 million, according to the indictment against Landberg.