Man Pretends To Be Hank Paulson To Make Fake $353,000 Mortgage Payment To Citi, Succeeds

Tyler Durden's picture

Perhaps the most surreal fact about the case of 35 year old Bryan Gardner who back in 2009 sent CitiMortgage a $353,000 money order "drawn on the account of the 'Secretary of the Treasury Hank M. Paulson, Jr." in order to satisfy the final payment for a property in Bowie, Md, is that.... he succeeded. Fox Biz has more: "CitiMortgage erroneously accepted the document and credited Gardner's mortgage account in full," according to a Secret Service affidavit. Within months, Gardner sold the property for $254,900 and then "distributed the proceeds to others," according to public records and the Secret Service affidavit. Investigators believe Gardner may have initially secured the mortgage under false pretenses. Through a spokesman, an FBI agent who investigates mortgage fraud said he was surprised the scheme succeeded, and a former Justice Department official who helped lead fraud enforcement efforts in the wake of the financial meltdown agreed, calling the approval of the money order "bizarre." Perhaps what is more bizarre is just how a plan like this, which a 3 year old could concoct, but not even a 3 year old would be dumb enough to believe it would fly, actually succeeded. Just how big is the pool of "unclaimed" cash on deposit at CitiMortgage is there was i) no actual account was debited for the full amount and ii) nobody noticed that the Treasury department was paying off a private mortgage.

Unfortunately, we are confident that by the time the entire mortgage fraud house of cards is unwound, we will learn of cases in which President Lincoln personally prepaid mortgages closing in 2010. But have no fear: this is only money that will be funded out of the general Treasury ledger, and which you, dear taxpayer, will foot the bill for. Nobody else.

It gets even funnier as our law enforcers realize that merely the tip of the iceberg in mortgage fraud land is beyond ridiculous:

"I've never heard of a case where a mortgage for such a large amount was satisfied with a fraudulent instrument -- an instrument that's so on-its-face fraudulent," said Paul Pelletier, who until a few months ago was a top-ranking official in the Justice Department's Fraud Section. "You'd be amazed at how many people try and pass off (fraudulent) stuff. But does it ever work? No, it rarely works."


In fact, Gardner's alleged scheme didn't work the first time he tried. In November 2008, two months before his successful attempt, Gardner sent a nearly identical money order to CitiMortgage, but it was rejected, according to the Secret Service. The only difference the second time around: Gardner requested slightly more money, court documents say.


Pelletier said this case is "extraordinarily unusual" not only because CitiMortgage ultimately honored a fraudulent money order, but the company allowed it to be credited to Gardner's mortgage and likely issued a "satisfaction" on the mortgage, as reflected by Gardner's ability to sell the property.

As for Citi, why they have no idea what this means.

A CitiGroup spokesman said he was limited in the details he could offer about the case.


"We notify law enforcement authorities about matters of suspected fraud," spokesman Mark Rodgers said. "This case is currently under their purview, so we do not think it appropriate to provide details."


A spokeswoman for Paulson said the former treasury secretary was unaware of the case.


Pelletier, now with the firm Mintz Levin in Washington, said Gardner seems to have gotten "lucky" for two years, but in such cases, "You're going to get caught eventually."


Gardner has now been charged through criminal complaint with one count of mail fraud. A grand jury has yet to indict him.

We feel bad for Citi: perhaps the mortgage agent just thought they were returning a modestly reduced favor:

In November 2008, Paulson and other Bush administration officials agreed to lend CitiGroup $45 billion in taxpayer funds, hoping to stave off an even deeper financial crisis. It was one of the largest bailouts ever in U.S. history. CitiGroup has since repaid its debt to the U.S. government.

Right, by borrowing money from the Treasury to repay other money owed to the Treasury...

As for the brilliant Mr. Gardner...

According to public records in Maryland, Gardner filed for bankruptcy protection in February, and two months later he agreed to surrender his Ford Expedition and Waldorf home. The case has since been closed.

If nothing else, and TARP 2 is certainly not nothing else, the full extent of the fraud, potentially reaching well into the trillions, will provide for countless hours of late night and blogging humor. We can't wait.

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Caveman93's picture

It's so easy to do it's scary. Get Social Security check acct# and ABA#, get printer and check stock. Complete info and mail in. When I was in bank operations we would lose hundreds of batched checks and sometimes whole cash letters. We'd then have to go to film and re-create these items and process them "photo in lieu of original" with an indemnification stamp because the originals were missing or destroyed. I bet this check was one of those.

These banks are so large they have no way to clean up the millions of exceptions they have each year and probably wrote off the whole missing items or item in the batch of work. You should see what happens when a $3.00 check gets encoded for $30K and deposited. LOL!

John McCloy's picture

Jesus..this is rich.

 Did he drop to a knee and threaten martial law as well while looking for yellow bellied hummingbirds with his eco binocs? We are so completely fucked.

Cdad's picture

Indeed, John.  Utterly and completely fucked...until such time as these sick assed rotten banks are finally just broken up, and half their employees sent home with forms to file for unemployment.

There will be no capital formation in banks as corrupt and incompetent as ours.  

Long-John-Silver's picture
I'm going to change my name to Hank Paulson.
Sudden Debt's picture

You want a birth certificate with that?

chubbar's picture

You can have the Hawaiian certificate but you are going to have to take a Connecticut social security number, we are all out of Hawaii Social Security numbers!

darkhorse007's picture

We could only wish to be on that Grand Jury...

Sudden Debt's picture




lizzy36's picture

This is fantastic.

Did nobody question why a man worth $750m, and who was CEO of GS had a mortgage with Citigroup?

Further exactly when in 2009 did this occur, bc Tiny Tim took over on Jan 26, 2009.

All of that said this is the best story of the week. I guess Citi really is that stupid.


Sudden Debt's picture

this makes you think how many other millionaires where scammed in that way he? :)

You just drive along a big manshion, ring the door, and when you know who he is, you don't rob him! YOU GO INTO HIS TRASH, TAKE A PHONEBILL AND GO TO A BANK TO WITHDRAW MONEY IN HIS NAME!!!

I love it :)

DonnieD's picture

I'm sure they've processed many payments from the Treasury Department for "important people" and didn't think anything of it. The only screw up was not verifying that it actually was the bazooka.

Dr. Engali's picture

They will string this guy up while the real thief's get away with the biggest hiest the world has ever seen.

tom a taxpayer's picture

Prosecutors go after small fry while letting Hank "the Godfather" and the other ringleaders of the greatest financial crimes in U.S. history go free.

Caviar Emptor's picture

I sent in a payment to IRS in the name of Turbo Timmah

carbonmutant's picture

He probably spoke English as a second language... lol

pods's picture

Well he used a fake document to pay fake money, Citi wrote them a fake letter that he successfully discharged a fake mortgage.

Perfect all the way around!


Sudden Debt's picture

Let's robosign it and forget all about it.

High Plains Drifter's picture

what is the definition of fake here?  what he did was expose the sheep to what the system is really all about. it is paper and numbers on a page and doesn't mean anything with this fiat money system. he made up a draft of some sort , put the treasury secretary's name on it and presented it for payment and they accepted it. is that wrong?  is that criminal?  is that fraud?  he did not try to hide anything?  they are just pissed because it exposes their system to the sheep and it is easy to see that debts are not real........i alwhaays wondered if this would work. i heard about it but never had the stones to try it............ha ha ha

nah's picture

always be yourself


unless you can be batman, in which case... you should always be batman

DaveyJones's picture

A private pretends the public paid off his private after the public pretends he pay off the private for the good of the public.  

sounds good

Schiff hits the fan's picture

Where is Krugman to explain that if you account for the money multiplier this was actually equivalent to $850,000 worth of stimulus so it helped the economy

Pay Day Today's picture

That all seems reasonable, if the local liquor store, whore house, and pot dealer are considered part of "the economy".

Iam_Silverman's picture

"That all seems reasonable, if the local liquor store, whore house, and pot dealer are considered part of "the economy"."

I'm good with that - now lets count how many jobs were created or saved!


Tunga's picture

Aliens bought my mansion! 


OT; Properties in Roswell NM selling for out of this world prices!


Rumor: Bank for Intergalactic Settlements (BIS) is investigating! 

buzzsaw99's picture

signed: Hank Paulson Bitchez

caerus's picture

BAC selling da house! everything must go!

DarkStarDog's picture

85% of us merikans aints gots no money.  Creditors are happy for any payment even if fraudulent hoping the next guy takes the hit...   kaboom!  confraudtation is everywhere

Smiddywesson's picture

"distributed the proceeds to others."

Right...anyone want to bet that Mr. Gardner has been doing some midnight gardening?

His back yard is going to look like the gopher from Caddyshack was there.

goldfish1's picture

no actual account was debited for the full amount

no actual account was debited for the full amount

no actual account was debited for the full amount

no actual account was debited for the full amount

no actual account was debited for the full amount

To me that speaks to the entire situation at hand. It's money for nuthin',  a hunka hunka churnin and wherever it stops, no body knows.

andybev01's picture

Makes me wonder if 353,000 accounts were debited for $1.00 apiece?

Barnaby's picture

Well, the TOTUS did say "if there's one thing I believe in it's REDEMPTION." Which is nice.

yipcarl's picture

This guy is a NATIONAL HERO!!!

walküre's picture

The man did only what was fair and just. He claimed his personal financial bailout.

If all Americans had simultaneously defaulted on their debts in late 2008, early 2009 this country could be well on its way to a real recovery.

Ordinary Americans aren't allowed to print their own money even though its common practice for the cabal and their enablers.

Imagine, a type of "flash mob" default and then a "flash mob" distribution of fake US cash.

It would have been fantastic and the thieves and pirates on Wall Street and in the White House would have been absolutely freakin' defenseless and clueless.


trav7777's picture

why not just pay the debt with the fake cash instead of trying to live large AGAIN?

Seasmoke's picture

looks like is a member of Friends of Hank

Stuck on Zero's picture

Complete idiot.  As soon as it worked he should have written a bank draft for $353,000,000,000.00 and had it deposited in a Caymans account.  Chances are the larger the check the fewer the safeguards.

walküre's picture

He'll be sentenced to death.

It's pretty much the equivalent to stealing from God.

FeralSerf's picture

If I'm lucky enough to be on his jury, we'll try for a nullification.

Gohn Galt's picture

What a nice laugh.  Oh yes, too busy stealing to look for other theives.  You can do this mortgage tapes too, even easier.  But this isn't the dirtbag board.

Sow-puncher's picture

I am Sow-Puncher, And I will save Wall-street. NOT! haha. Silver Bitchez!!!

Sow-puncher's picture

OMG, Wallstreet can't be saved, I forgot ;) haha

Sow-puncher's picture

Just for fun, but I want to know how far this reply-thing can go to the right side of the screen. 

andybev01's picture

How much sugar have you eaten today?


(I think it goes almost all the way to the right)