Garth Anthony Gardner, 49, a citizen of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, pled guilty yesterday to charges involving a scheme in which he made misrepresentations to apply for and obtain more than $3 million in multiple home equity line of credit loans.
According to the government’s evidence, in October 2003, Gardner purchased a property in the 5100 block of 13th Street NW, Washington, DC, using the Social Security number of another person and falsely representing himself as a U.S. citizen. In May 2005, he used a corporation that he owned to purchase a second property in the 1300 block of Dexter Terrace SE, Washington, DC. Gardner transferred ownership of the second property from the company to himself for $10. Next, Gardner applied for a series of home equity line of credit loans using the two properties as collateral.
By settling these loans in close proximity to each other, Gardner minimized the banks’ ability to learn about the other loans. From August to October 2004, Gardner obtained 12 home equity line of credit loans from 12 different banks secured by the 13th Street property, totaling approximately $1.4 million. Between March and April 2006, Gardner applied for 13, and obtained 12, such loans from 12 banks, secured by the Dexter Terrace property, totaling approximately $1.9 million.
In approximately February 2008, Gardner stopped making payments and defaulted on all of the loans. The banks discovered Gardner’s fraudulent conduct after initiating foreclosure proceedings on the properties.