CEO of nonprofit 'charity' sentenced for mortgage, tax fraud

by 03 Feb 2014
The CEO of an Ohio nonprofit has been sentenced to a year in prison for defrauding the Internal Revenue Service and bilking a lender in a mortgage scam.
 
Regina Shields, 41, pleaded guilty in June to one count of filing a false income tax return and one count of wire fraud. She was sentenced Friday to 12 months and a day in prison and ordered to pay $202,806 in restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
 
Shields formed a nonprofit organization called Free Truth Enterprises and has served as its CEO since 2000. The nonprofit's listing on VolunteerMarch.org claims that it "creates, delivers and sustains" services like low-income lending and housing and employment initiatives. However, the FBI said last week that Free Truth Enterprises didn't engage in any charitable activity.
 
Prosecutors say that from 2007 to 2010, Shields filed tax returns with the IRS that fraudulently claimed a total of $61,315 in refunds.
 
“The mortgage loan offense involves a brazen scheme whereby she bid for and won a sheriff’s auction for a property that was in foreclosure,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Mangan told the court. “She then purported to pay for the property using a check that had insufficient funds. To make matters worse, the defendant then used this temporary appearance of title to apply for a sizable loan from Quicken Loans in excess of $140,000. She then used the proceeds to purchase a luxury car.”
 
As part of her sentence, Shields must pay restitution of $61,315 to the IRS and $141,491 to Title Source, Inc., a division of Quicken Loans.
 

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