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Ex-Bank Execs Admit to SC Real Estate Bank Fraud

There was a time in South Carolina, specifically, Myrtle Beach, when the real estate market was booming. Oceanfront properties and lush condos were selling like hotcakes and soon, Myrtle became the “it” spot to scoop up properties. It was lucrative. It was an investment. Plus, five to six years ago, mortgage companies were looser; soon, those in no financial position, whatsoever, to own a house—did.

Recently, in Federal Court, Gary Hager and Jill Brennan, once Myrtle Beach bank officials, pleaded guilty to bank fraud charges including providing phony information on loan applications. As a result, banks approved mortgages which only later fell into foreclosure.

Jeff Shoup, also charged with real estate bank fraud, was placed on home detention for repeatedly breaking the rules of his bail agreement. Since Shoup’s initial bail hearing, back in December, he twice been arrested on separate alcohol-related charges and tested positive for cocaine during a mandatory drug test. Judge Shiva Hodges told Shoup he “had many opportunities to comply, and (has) not. This is your last chance.”

Meanwhile, Hager and Brennan will remain free on bail until their sentencing (sometime this year). Gary Hager is an ex-loan officer from JP Morgan Chase, Myrtle Beach. He pled guilty to one felony charge of conspiracy to “commit bank fraud.” The maximum sentence for such a charge is 30 years in jail.

Hager produced fraudulent documents to JP Morgan Chase so the bank would unknowingly approve mortgages far exceeding the property’s actual values. Hager then admitted to receiving kickbacks once loans were approved.

Jill Brennan worked for Bank of America, Myrtle Beach, and also pleaded guilty to the “conspiracy to commit bank fraud”—a sentence which, again, could possibly put her in jail for 30 years. She also falsified information to “over-qualify” for loans. All of the phony info adds up to nearly $1.4 million in losses for RBC Bank—the bank which made the loans.