Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
Lori Prichard reportingA federal indictment unsealed Tuesday charges six Utahns with wire and mail fraud. Prosecutors say it's a mortgage scheme that reaches into the millions. It's the kind of fraud that affects everyone by driving up property values and property taxes.
Federal prosecutors say this scheme involved the sale and resale of upscale homes, five of which are in the Provo River Bottoms area. This may be the first federal indictment by the Utah Task Force, but it made a pledge this will not be the last.
U.S. Attorney Brett Tolman said, "At this point, we have nearly a dozen investigations we are working on."
And so began the announcement against the first six who are targets of the state's mortgage fraud task force. Federal prosecutors point to Bradley Kitchen as one of the ringleaders.
The other alleged ringleader is Dr. David Bolick. A well-published medical doctor, Bolick is chief medical director of Grant Life Sciences in Sandy, where he specializes in cervical cancer detection.
Barbara Bearnson, criminal chief in the U.S. Attorney's office, said, "The agreement began here between Mr. Kitchen and Mr. Bolick. From there they developed the scheme and recruited straw purchasers."
In the indictment, prosecutors allege four others --Steve Cloward, Ron Clarke, Jeffery Garrett and Rebecca Hadlock-- all had a hand in the scheme to "...defraud and to obtain money and property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses."
Brett Tolman said, "The potential maximum penalty for each count in this indictment is up to 20 years in federal prison."
We tried calling all of the defendants named in the case; only one, Dr. Bolick would comment. He told us he was shocked and surprised by the indictment. He also said he just found out Tuesday about the charges and didn't even know what he was charged with. Bolick also said he was not guilty of anything.
"We are erring on the side of aggressive, and we are continuing to work very hard," Toman said.
Others working just as hard on this include the IRS, the FBI and a host of other state agencies.
Greg Bretzing, with the FBI, said, "There's many cases we're investigating. We're trying to get to the root of the problem."
Federal prosecutors say as part of this indictment they will try to regain some of the millions of dollars lost by this mortgage scheme. The defendants are expected to be in federal court early next month.