Calif. businessman accused of $12M fraud

Category: National Mortgage News Published: Wednesday, 15 October 2014 Written by Admin

An affluent California businessman featured on the pages of an Orange County society magazine has been indicted in Louisville on charges of defrauding nearly $12 million from National City and PNC banks.

Brady Bunte, 49, a champion sports fisherman and the owner of tequila and chip companies in Southern California, was charged in an indictment unsealed Tuesday with fraudulently taking $17.9 million from the Louisville offices of National City and PNC, which acquired it, by submitting funding requests for non-existent mortgage loans.

A one-count indictment charges that Bunte, of Laguna Beach, Calif., through his company, Trust One Mortgage, submitted 43 fraudulent funding requests on its warehouse line of credit to the banks.

Stephanie Collins, a spokeswoman for the US attorneys office, said he paid back only about $5 million. It was kind of like a Ponzi scheme, she said.

Bunte did not respond to requests for comment submitted through the Facebook pages of his businesses. His lawyer, H. Dean Steward of San Clemente, Calif., could not be reached at his office and did not immediately respond to an email.

Trust One Mortgages website no longer exists and the company is defunct, according to the Kentucky secretary of states office. National Mortgage News, a trade publication, reported in 1998 that the company then employed 147 people in its Irvine headquarters and five regional branches and was licensed in 29 states.

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According to a real estate blog in Los Cabos, Mexico, Bunte owns a a luxurious vacation villa there, a tortilla chip company, CaboChips.com and a tequila company, Tres Sietes.

The Orange County Register reported in 2003 that Bunte and two other men teamed to catch a 565-pound marlin for which they won a $1.165 million prize at the 23rd annual Bisbee Black and Blue Marlin Jackpot Tournament.

Bunte and his wife have been pictured at charity events in the Orange County Riviera edition of Modern Luxury magazine.

The Sept. 18 indictment alleges that from March 2007 through October 2008 the fraudulent funding requests submitted by Trust One and Bunte caused NCB to suffer a loss of about $12 million. NCBs warehouse lending operations were in Louisville. PNC acquired NCB in 2008.

As a warehouse lender, NCB provided revolving, short-term loans, known as warehouse lines of credit, to mortgage lenders. The mortgage lenders, such as Trust One, were required to pay off specific loans issued on its warehouse line, by warehouse lenders, within a set period of time or when the warehouse lender demanded payment.

Bunte was arraigned Monday in US District Court located in Santa Ana, California, and was released on a $100,000 third-party bond. He also was required to surrender his passport.

If convicted at trial, he could be sentenced to 30 years in prison and fined up to $1 million.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Bryan Calhoun and Amanda Gregory and is being investigated by the FBI.



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