Alleging a long-running fraud involving a cash-packed safe and a garbage bag stuffed with money, federal prosecutors have asked that a mortgage broker be forced to hand over $102,000 to the government…
Since June 2009, Lord argued, investigators came to believe “that Portmann and two other principals at (Pierce Commercial Bank) Home Loans had devised a scheme involving … materially false representations to induce financial institutions to fund and/or purchase loans.”
Portmann was the loan officer on 5,253 loans, amounting to nearly $1 billion in lent money and about 46 percent of the home loans issued by the bank, the federal prosecutor told the court. Federal investigators contend about half of those loans were obtained through fraud.
In addition allegations that he falsified application information, Portmann is accused of drawing cashier’s checks from his personal bank accounts to show that would-be loan recipients could pay their debts. The checks were printed, but the funds were quickly returned to Portmann’s accounts, Lord told the court.
Federal investigators claim 85 checks totaling about $899,000 were cut from the account between 2006 and 2009, according to the July 30 court filing. For securing the loans, Portmann was paid at least $813,000 in premiums from 2006 to 2008.
Speaking with IRS and FBI agents earlier this year, Portmann’s personal assistant said she withdrew about $500,000 from Portmann’s savings account and deposited the cash in a safe at his home, according to the civil complaint. Another person allegedly involved in the scheme turned over a large garbage bag filled with $102,000 in cash, telling investigators that Portmann had given him a backpack in late January or early February containing $100,000 in bundled $100 bills.”
An avid Rain City Guide reader tipped me off to this story. Thanks also to the PI for the update. My students in the south end ask me about this case every week.