Man pleads guilty to $195,000 in wire fraud

Robin S. Ligon, indicted on 27 counts of fraud in November, pleaded guilty to just one count of wire fraud today in federal court.

Ligon, 45, admitted to U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land to defrauding Mortgage America Inc. out of $195,000 between 2002-2003.

The guilty plea stems from a real estate deal in which Ligon told a home buyer that he was familiar with real estate transactions, leading the buyer to secure a loan with Mortgage America Inc.

Ligon, however, gave the mortgage company false income information about the buyer, which led to inflated loan amounts. He also told the company repairs had been made to the property, which also inflated the loan.

Ligon received money from the property's sale for repairs that never occurred.

The loan was guaranteed by either the Federal National Mortgage Association or the Federal Home Loan and Mortgage Corporation, and documents were sent by wire to Mortgage America in Columbus from Virginia or Washington, D.C. The loans wouldn't have been approved by Mortgage America without those wired documents.

"I'm just happy to know that he finally admitted that he did, he knew what he was doing and he's absolutely guilty," said Harriett Elkins, the former Columbus branch manager of Mortgage America.