A Mesa mortgage officer is facing up to 30 years in federal prison and a maximum $1 million fine for orchestrating a "cash back" scheme for homebuyers who eventually were foreclosed on, causing the banks to lose about $1 million.
Jake David Whitman, 33, who served as a branch manager for Academy Mortgage, pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and seven counts of bank fraud, according to the U.S. District Attorney's Office.
Whitman participated in a scheme involving residential properties throughout the Valley to obtain mortgage loans sometimes in excess of hundreds of thousands of dollars more than the actual value of the home. Whitman then recruited homebuyers who lacked the income, assets or downpayment to buy the home, and he would secretly provide the down payment for the home and also award them cash back without disclosing the arrangement, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Whitman's plea is part of the U.S. Department of Justice's and U.S. Attorney's Office's "Operation Cash Back" initiative in which 40 suspects have been indicted and arrested.
So far, 18 guilty pleas have come from the operation, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Whitman will be sentenced on Oct. 26.