By Logan Smith

DENVER (CBS4) – Michael Scott Leslie, 57, of Boulder, was sentenced earlier this month to five years in federal prison for engineering a scheme that bilked a single bank out of nearly $32 million in fake residential mortgage loans.

Leslie, according to documents in the plea agreement with federal prosecutors, sold 144 fake loans valued at $31,908,806.88 to an FDIC-insured bank in Texas over the course of two years starting in October 2015.

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Prosecutors did not publicly identify the Texas bank by name.

Leslie “closed” the fake mortgages using the names of real people obtained by his brokerage, Montage Mortgage. Some of those names were those of clients involved in legitimate business dealings with Montage. Others belonged to people who had asked Leslie’s company to check their credit score in hopes of potential refinancing.

According to case documents, Leslie forged their signatures.

“Five years in federal prison is an appropriate sentence for a fraudster that stole personal identities and used them to steal millions of dollars from a legitimate business,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn.

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Prosecutors said the Leslie’s alleged real estate transactions never legally occurred – they were no closings, no liens were ever recorded, and no filings were made in the respective counties in which the properties were located.

They described the complex flow of money as “Ponzi-like.”

Leslie pleaded guilty to federal bank fraud and aggravated identity theft charges in July. He was sentenced Nov. 6.

Chief U.S. District Court Judge Philip A. Brimmer ordered Leslie to report to a Bureau of Prisons facility on January 4, 2021.

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The investigation was conducted jointly by the Denver office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Offices of the Inspector General for both the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the FDIC.

Logan Smith