Las Vegas Sun

September 25, 2018

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Court upholds conviction in mortgage fraud case

CARSON CITY — A federal appeals court has rejected the plea of a Las Vegas man to overturn his conviction in a $25 million mortgage fraud case.

The 9th U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday denied the petition of Brett Depue, who was sentenced to 21 years and 10 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.5 million in restitution.

At his third trial in Las Vegas, he was convicted of eight counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit bank, mail and wire fraud.

The appeals court rejected arguments by Depue that a juror who became ill was improperly dismissed during deliberations at the trial and that his sentence was excessive.

The court said Depue, acting with others, put up as much as $5,000 to buy homes and secure bank loans. The houses then went into default and Depue and other “straw buyers” kept the loan money. There were more than 100 houses involved in these transactions from 2005 to 2007.

The court said Depue victimized at least 30 people and made $14 million to $15 million from them. The lending institutions also lost money.

Depue’s first trial resulted in a mistrial. His conviction at a second trial was overturned by an appeals court, but he was convicted of all counts at his third trial.