Attorney General Suthers Announces Mortgage Fraud Indictment

DENVER – Colorado Attorney General John W. Suthers announced today a Statewide Grand Jury Indictment that charges 10 people in a complex mortgage fraud scheme that involved 34 properties in Adams, Arapahoe, Denver and Jefferson counties.  According to the Indictment, between April 28, 2004 and December 28, 2006, members of this crime ring fraudulently obtained $10.9 million in mortgages.  They allegedly used falsified invoices and shell corporations to deceive lenders into paying $1.1 million back to the buyers.

According to the 45-page Indictment, Uto Essien was the real estate broker who orchestrated the plan by negotiating property acquisitions, and directing buyers to create shell corporations to unlawfully divert funds.  Scott Hinkley was the mortgage broker involved in the majority of the transactions.  Hinkley worked with Jennifer Wolsey, a loan processor, to secure loans for buyers by over-stating the buyers’ income and under-stating debt liabilities.  Idara Ekiko worked for Uto Essien, and she prepared fake invoices that were used to deceive lenders into paying money to the buyers through shell corporations. 

The following table summarizes the defendant buyers’ involvement as alleged in the indictment:

Defendant/Buyer

Shell Corporation

Properties Purchased

Mortgages Acquired

Equity Cash Out

Uto Essien

Essien and Co Realty, Ltd.
EU Enterprise

4

$1,397,300

$140,000

Idara Ekiko

New Age Finishing, LLC

3

$910,500

$50,853

Bradley Decker

Decker Rentals, LLC
RTB, LLC

7

$2,091,483

$279,673

Cheri Decker

Decker Rentals, LLC
RCJ Rentals, Inc.

8

$2,577,650

$320,605

Jessica Decker

JT Decker Rentals, LLC
JT Rentals, LLC

3

$1,064,000

$118,856

Heather Etuk

Rainbow Renovators, LLC

3

$970,813

$30,900

Jessica Caplan

Wild Horses Denver Properties, LLC

3

$956,500

$43,000

Enoh Etuk

The Overcomer Construction Group

3

$935,950

$133,781

Total

 

34

$10,904,196

$1,117,668

Several agencies cooperated in this two-year investigation, code-named “Operation ECO,” including the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, the Colorado Bureau of Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the 17th Judicial District (Adams and Broomfield Counties) District Attorney, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General.  Cases will be filed in Adams County, and prosecuted by the Colorado Attorney General and the Adams County District Attorney’s Office.  The indictment charged these defendants criminally, but each of the defendants is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The charges set forth in the Indictment are as follow:

Count

Charge

Presumptive Sentence

Defendant

1

COCCA

8-24 years
Department of Corrections (“DOC”)

Uto Essien
Scott Hinkley
Jennifer Wolsey
Idara Ekiko
Bradley Decker
Cheri Decker

2

Theft >$15,000 (F3)

4-12 years DOC

Uto Essien

3

Forgery (F5)

1-3 years DOC

Uto Essien

4

Forgery (F5) (3d Party Ks)

1-3 years DOC

Uto Essien

5

Theft by Receiving (F4)

2-6 years DOC

Uto Essien

6

Forgery (F5) (Heather)

1-3 years DOC

Scott Hinkley

7

Forgery (F5) (Uto)

1-3 years DOC

Scott Hinkley

8

Forgery (F5) (Brad)

1-3 years DOC

Scott Hinkley

9

Forgery (F5) (Cheri)

1-3 years DOC

Scott Hinkley

10

Forgery (F5) (Jessica D)

1-3 years DOC

Scott Hinkley

11

Computer Crime (F3)

4-12 years DOC

Jennifer Wolsey

12

Forgery (F5) (Brad)

1-3 years DOC

Jennifer Wolsey

13

Forgery (F5) (Cheri)

1-3 years DOC

Jennifer Wolsey

14

Theft >$15,000 (F3)

4-12 years DOC

Idara Ekiko

15

Forgery (F5)

1-3 years DOC

Idara Ekiko

16

Computer Crime (F3)

4-12 years DOC

Idara Ekiko

17

Theft >$15,000 (F3)

4-12 years DOC

Brad Decker

18

Forgery (F5)

1-3 years DOC

Brad Decker

19

Theft by Receiving (F3)

4-12 years DOC

Brad Decker

20

Theft >$15,000 (F3)

4-12 years DOC

Cheri Decker

21

Forgery (F5)

1-3 years DOC

Cheri Decker

22

Theft >$15,000 (F3)

4-12 years DOC

Jessica Decker

23

Forgery (F5)

1-3 years DOC

Jessica Decker

24

Theft >$15,000 (F3)

4-12 years DOC

Heather Etuk

25

Forgery (F5)

1-3 years DOC

Heather Etuk

26

Theft >$15,000 (F3)

4-12 years DOC

Jessica Caplan

27

Forgery (F5)

1-3 years DOC

Jessica Caplan

28

Theft >$15,000 (F3)

4-12 years DOC

Enoh Etuk

29

Forgery (F5)

1-3 years DOC

Enoh Etuk

The Defendants’ court appearances are yet to be determined.

Attachments: 

Identity Theft

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