A Westminster man pleaded guilty in federal court in Baltimore yesterday to mail fraud, a charge that stemmed from what prosecutors say was a scheme to flip properties in the city during the late 1990s.
Anthony J. DiChiara, 41, was a licensed appraiser who prosecutors said agreed in 1998 to work with a mortgage broker trying to defraud mortgage lenders.
Federal prosecutors said DiChiara took the broker's word on who owned properties and how much the properties were worth, although he never checked land records or went to the properties.
In one case, DiChiara certified that he had "personally inspected the property" at 219 N. Curley St., although he had never been there, prosecutors said. He certified that none of the houses listed as "comparable properties" had been sold within the past year, but they had been flipped to support the North Curley Street property's inflated price, they said.
DiChiara admitted in U.S. District Court to causing losses to mortgage lenders in excess of $350,000, according to prosecutors. Judge Andre Davis scheduled sentencing for Jan. 7.