Ex-appraiser pleads guilty to mortgage fraud

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A former southwest Missouri real estate appraiser admits that he took part in an $11 million mortgage fraud scheme.

The U.S. Attorney’s office says 42-year-old Vincent Cantrell pleaded guilty Thursday to participating in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Prosecutors say the scheme involved more than two dozen residential properties.

Cantrell admitted that he used artificially inflated prices suggested to him for his appraisals rather than conducting his own appraisals. He was a certified appraiser for Charles E. Walker Realty at the time.

Cantrell was paid $3,900 for 13 artificially-inflated appraisal reports for 12 properties, his only profit from the scheme.

His co-conspirators received about $4.3 million in proceeds from at least 26 real estate transactions. Most of the residential properties involved in the mortgage fraud scheme are in foreclosure.

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