Lake Jackson attorney and others charged in mortgage fraud scheme

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

LAKE JACKSON, TX (KTRK) -- A Lake Jackson attorney has turned himself in to authorities after he and others were charged in a mortgage fraud scheme involving properties in Surfside and Freeport.

Kirk Lawrence Brannan, 60; Chucobie Lanier, 37; David Lee Morris, 52; and Derwin Jerome Blackshear, 47, are all accused in the scheme.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the indictment claims that during 2005 through 2009 Brannan sold a number of beach homes that he or family members owned in Surfside and Freeport through a mortgage fraud scheme.

Lanier allegedly approached Brannan and offered to obtain buyers for Brannan's homes if Brannan would kick-back to Lanier the proceeds from the sales that were above an agreed upon amount.

Authorities say Lanier distributed the fraudulently obtained funds to Morris and Blackshear who helped organize the fraud scheme.

The indictment further states Brannan's beach homes were purchased by "straw buyers" who had no intention of paying of the mortgage loans on their own or living in the homes.

Numerous misrepresentations were allegedly made in the mortgage loan applications, and the lenders were induced to lend inflated sums for the purchases.

According to the indictment, all of the beach homes sold through the scheme ended up in foreclosure.

All four defendants are charged with conspiracy and face up to 30 years in federal prison as well as a possible $1 million fine, upon conviction.

Brannan, Lanier and Morris are also charged with one count of bank fraud and face the same penalty if convicted on that charge.

The charges are the result of an investigation by FBI and the Texas Department of Public Safety.