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Real Estate & Property Law

Man Allegedly Got Mortgage Bailout By Persuading Bank to Take Fake $353K ‘Hank Paulson’ Money Order

Posted Aug 17, 2011 12:02 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Around the time the Bush administration and then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson agreed in November 2008 to lend CitiGroup $45 billion to bail the banking giant out of a global financial crisis, a Maryland man allegedly got an idea for a bailout on a much smaller scale.

Bryan Gardner is accused of submitting a fake $353,000 money order purportedly drawn on the account of Henry M. Paulson Jr. to CitiMortgage, telling the bank to apply it to the mortgage on his Maryland home.

The first time he allegedly tried this scheme, in November 2008, the payment was refused. But a couple of months later, someone in the global financial giant's employ took the fake money order and, it appears, CitiMortgage then recorded the loan on Gardner's Maryland home as satisfied in full, according to Fox News and the New York Post.

He subsequently sold the house for a little over $250,000 and distributed the proceeds to others.

Now Gardner, 35, is charged with mail fraud and a mortgage fraud investigation is reportedly ongoing.

Paul Pelletier, a former high top official in the fraud section of the Justice Department, called the case "extraordinarily unusual," not because the alleged scheme was attempted but because it succeeded, reports Fox News.

"I've never heard of a case where a mortgage for such a large amount was satisfied with a fraudulent instrument--an instrument that's so on-its-face fraudulent," he said.

Gardner and a spokesman for CitiGroup declined to comment specifically on the case. Paulson, of course, knew nothing of the alleged scheme.

Hat tip: Daily Mail

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