Daniel O’Leary, manager and registered agent for El Paso Asset Appraisals, LLC, d/b/a/ Asset Property Management, paid a $100,000 civil penalty yesterday to settle allegations that he falsely certified home appraisals performed by uncertified assistants. These appraisals were subsequently relied upon by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) in insuring home mortgage loans. In addition to payment of the civil monetary penalty, O’Leary has agreed to surrender any Appraiser’s licenses he maintains in the State of Texas, or any other state, for a period of five years.
U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff; Catherine Huber, Special Agent in Charge of the Central Region of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG); Bertrand Nelson, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG); and FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Coburn made today’s announcement.
“Regulations requiring certified appraisals before a home mortgage is guaranteed by the FHA are in place to protect consumers and taxpayers” said U.S. Attorney Hoff. “Any time someone tries to circumvent those regulations for personal gain it places consumers and the FHA program at risk.”
“Daniel O’Leary abused his position as a certified appraiser by making false representations to lenders that were relied upon in issuing home mortgage loans,” said Special Agent in Charge Huber. “This settlement illustrates FHFA-OIG’s commitment to work with our law enforcement partners in identifying and holding accountable those who engage in misconduct impacting the mortgage lending industry.”
The HUD-OIG, FHFA-OIG and the FBI investigated this matter with assistance from the Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board (TALCB). The investigation by these law enforcement agencies revealed evidence indicating that appraisals were certified as having been performed by Mr. O’Leary on dates when he was traveling out of the state or out of the country.
“We work tirelessly to ensure the integrity of the appraisal system used to validate federally insured mortgages and to protect it from fraud and exploitation,” said Special Agent in Charge Nelson. “Today’s announcement is a testament to the dedication across the law enforcement community to vigorously pursue those who would seek to undermine it for personal gain.”
“This civil settlement against Daniel O’Leary is yet another reminder of the FBI’s continued commitment to pursue individuals who have violated the public’s confidence and hold them accountable, irrespective of status,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Coburn.
The claims asserted against the defendant under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 are allegations only; there has been no determination of liability. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eduardo R. Castillo handled this matter for the government.