A Plum Borough attorney is facing prison time and a fine up to $3.7 million.
On Friday, Lisa Gerideau-Williams, 46, pleaded guilty to sixteen counts of wire fraud, filing false income tax returns and failing to file income tax returns before Chief United States District Judge Gary L. Lancaster.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Gerideau Williams was an attorney who operated a mortgage broker business called Genesis Home Solutions, and two companies specializing in closing real estate transactions called Millennium Settlement Services and Professional Settlement Solutions. Through these companies Gerideau-Williams operated a complex and multi-faceted fraud scheme, according to a press release from U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton's office.
The following information was obtained from the press release:
Gerideau-Williams is accused of submitting fraudulent loan applications to lenders. The loan applications were fraudulent because Gerideau-Williams submitted them without the authority of the borrowers and they contained false information related to the borrowers' financial condition—she is accused of submitting unauthorized applications containing false information for her brother and elderly aunt between 2005 and 2007.
Gerideau-Williams' fraud also is related to her operation of businesses that closed real estate transactions. Gerideau-Williams received money from lenders into her trust account that was required to be disbursed to pay liabilities associated with the collateral. In that way the lender would stand in the first lien position related to the collateral. Gerideau Williams, rather than paying those liabilities, would simply take the money and use it to support her lavish lifestyle.
Gerideau-Williams also is accused of defrauding borrowers. Borrowers paid for title insurance and for other services such as recording deeds and mortgages. Rather than providing these services, Gerideau-Williams took the fees for those services without actually providing those services.
Title insurance companies also were victimized by Gerideau-Williams' fraud. At closings, Gerideau-Williams collected fees from borrowers for title insurance. However, she failed to remit those payments to the title insurance companies. Some of the title insurance companies also terminated Gerideau-Williams' authority to issue title insurance under their names. Despite the termination, however, Gerideau-Williams continued to issue title insurance on fraudulent transactions as if she was authorized to do so.
In, 2005, through her fraudulent businesses, Gerideau-Williams sold the property at 120 Cypress Hill Drive in Penn Hills—she was renting the property—from the rightful owner to her elderly aunt without the knowledge of either the owner or her aunt. A lender financed the purchase, and Gerideau-Williams took all of the proceeds from the transaction for her personal benefit. The purchase was finances through a fraudulently obtained loan.
Gerideau-Williams did not record the deed or the mortgage related to the property and therefore the property still appeared on the public record to be owned by the rightful owner of the property free of any mortgages.
Also in 2005, Gerideau-Williams arranged for a fraudulent refinance loan collateralized by her aunt's home in Harrisburg without her aunt's authority. In 2007, she arranged for other fraudulent refinance transactions collateralized by that same property. For each transaction, she took the proceeds from the loan to support her lavish lifestyle.
In 2006, Gerideau-Williams arranged to purchase the Cypress Hill Drive in her own name financed through a fraudulently obtained loan. While she recorded the deed transferring ownership of the property to her own name, she did not record the mortgage and therefore, according to the public record, it appeared that she owned the property free of any liens.
On three separate occasions in 2006 and 2007, Gerideau-Williams sold the property to her brother, and her brother financed the purchase through a fraudulently obtained loan secured by her. She received the proceeds from the sale, but she did not record the deed or the mortgage and therefore the public record still showed that she owned the property free of any liens.
For the 2004 tax year, Gerideau-Williams, who took taxation classes at Georgetown University School of Law toward an advanced degree in tax law, filed tax returns that drastically understated her income because she failed to include the more than millions dollars earned in the course of her fraud schemes. For the 2005 and 2006 tax years, she did not file her income tax returns.
Judge Lancaster scheduled sentencing for June 7. The law provides for a total sentence of 235 years in prison, a fine of $3,700,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant United States Attorney Brendan T. Conway is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government. The Mortgage Fraud Task Force conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Gerideau-Williams.