Man, ex-wife sentenced in mortgage, tax scams

An Atlanta man and his former wife were sentenced Thursday for their roles in a mortgage and tax scheme that netted the couple $400,000 in fraudulently obtained loans, authorities said.

Rodney D. Wells, 44, was sentenced to two years, nine months in prison on charges of mortgage fraud and tax evasion, according a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Tracie Wells, formerly Tracie Williams, 46, of Douglasville was sentenced to six months’ home confinement on a tax evasion conviction. The pair had pleaded guilty to the charges in December 2009.

The scam ran from 2002 through 2004. Prosecutors described how it worked:

Rodney Wells worked as a mortgage broker through two companies he created, Manhattan Group Mortgage and Superior Funding Group. He fraudulently obtained financing by using a fictitious “Tenacity Construction” to submit phony invoices and place liens on property for work that was never actually done.

The man also prepared false appraisals and bogus information on prospective home buyers’ finances to convince lenders to extend loans. An indictment identified eight properties in the scheme.

Additionally, the couple moved the proceeds of the scheme through various bank accounts to hide the money from the Internal Revenue Service and avoid paying taxes.

“Profits from the businesses were funneled to Tracie Wells, who used the monies to purchase numerous personal assets, including a new home and luxury vehicles, purchased in her name only,” prosecutors said.