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Appraiser Indicted on Reverse Mortgage Fraud Charges

A Pennsylvania man faces up to 166 years in prison for allegedly defrauding the Federal Housing Administration with phony reverse mortgage appraisals — which, in turn, led to millions of dollars in default payouts.

Eugene Peter Kenworthy, Jr. was indicted last week on charges including wire fraud and “false statements for the purposes of influencing the Federal Housing Administration,” according to a release from the U.S. District Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The government has accused Kenworthy, 50, of overstating the value of homes on appraisals submitted as part of Home Equity Conversion Mortgage paperwork, the Ambler (Pa.) Gazette reported. In turn, the FHA paid out $3.7 million after the loans defaulted, with a total of 53 claims on the 714 homes that Kenworthy appraised.

In addition, Kenworthy allegedly used the signatures of other appraisers to certify his reports without their knowledge, the Gazette noted. He has been banned from conducting appraisals for any FHA loans since 2016.

If convicted, Kenworthy faces a $5 million fine, the more than a century and a half in prison, and five years of supervised release, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Assistant U.S. attorney Karen L. Grigsby will serve as the prosecutor on the case, which was investigated by both HUD’s Office of the Inspector General and the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation department; Kenworthy was also charged with failure to file a tax return.

Written by Alex Spanko