Man pleads guilty to fraud, conspiracy

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX - The following is a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice:

Micah Lynn Bowens, 39, of Las Vegas, pleaded guilty on Monday in U.S. District Court in Phoenix to one count of conspiracy,four counts of false loan and credit applications, two counts of mail fraud, six counts of wire fraud, five counts of transactional money laundering, and two counts of using a social security number assigned to someone else. Bowens was indicted along with 11 others in July 2007 for multiple counts related to a mortgage fraud scheme based in Las Vegas and Phoenix which resulted in a loss to lending institutions of $2,500,000.

The case against Bowens was based on an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations Division and the U.S. Secret Service, which indicated that from May 2002 through May 2007 Bowens and 11 others conspired to commit mortgage fraud. Bowens and the others fraudulently submitted mortgage loan applications under false pretenses, obtaining and disbursing the proceeds of those loans, including directing portions of the proceeds to bank accounts in his and other defendants' control. Jennifer Sellers, a Nevadareal estate agent,and Lutrell Sharpe pleaded guilty on July 15, 2008to numerous counts related to the same mortgage fraud scheme.

Sentencing for Bowens is set beforeU.S. District Court Judge Silver on October 6, 2008.Sellers and Sharpe will be sentenced on September 15, 2008. A conviction for false loan and credit applications, mail fraud, and wire fraud is punishable by a maximum of up to 30 years in federal prison. A conviction for transactional money laundering is punishable by a maximum of up to 10 years in federal prison. A conviction for conspiracy and using a social security number assigned to someone else is punishable by a maximum sentence of 5 years in federal prison. In determining an actual sentence, Judge Roslyn O. Silver will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations Division and the U.S. Secret Service. The prosecution is being handled by Kevin M. Rapp, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.