|TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman today announced that former Pro Bowl NFL wide receiver Irving Fryar was indicted today along with his mother on charges that they conspired to steal more than $690,000 by having the mother fraudulently obtain five home equity loans on her home within a six-day period.
Fryar, 51, of Springfield, N.J., and his mother, Allene McGhee, 72, of Willingboro, N.J., were indicted by a state grand jury on second-degree charges of conspiracy and theft by deception. Fryar, who played for four NFL teams between 1984 and 2000, including the Philadelphia Eagles, is currently the pastor of a church in Burlington County that he founded and is the head coach of the Robbinsville High School varsity football team in Robbinsville, N.J. The indictment is the result of an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau.
The indictment alleges that Fryar conspired with his mother in a scheme in which she obtained five home equity loans totaling more than $690,000 between Dec. 16 and Dec. 21, 2009 utilizing a single property – the mother’s Willingboro home – as collateral for all of the loans. Fryar and McGhee allegedly deceived the five banks by applying for and closing on the loans within a short period and purposefully failing to disclose the existence of any prior loans, so each bank funded its loan in the belief that it held the first lien on the property and the loan would be secured by adequate equity.
It is further alleged that they provided false wage information on McGhee’s loan applications, falsely claiming she earned thousands of dollars a month as an event coordinator for Fryar’s church. Fryar himself allegedly received or spent more than $200,000 of the fraudulently obtained loan proceeds. Fryar and McGhee made only a few payments on four of the loans, and those banks eventually wrote the loans off as losses.
“This is not a case in which Mr. Fryar and his mother simply omitted or misstated information on loan applications,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “This indictment alleges that they engaged in an elaborate criminal scheme that was designed to defraud these banks of hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is disappointing that someone with an illustrious career in professional sports who now is a minister and coach in the community is charged with this crime, but he must face justice like anyone else.”
“We allege that Irving Fryar and Allene McGhee pulled off a sophisticated mortgage fraud scam resulting in six-figure losses to the lending banks,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Mortgage fraud is a serious crime that ultimately costs every hardworking homeowner in the form of higher loan rates. Through prosecutions such as this one, we are working to protect lenders and consumers, to promote a secure and strong economy.”
The five banks that provided McGhee with loans in December 2009 are Susquehanna Bank, The Bank, Cornerstone Bank, Sun Bank, and Beneficial Bank. Four of the loans closed on a single day, Dec. 21, 2009. It is further alleged that Fryar and McGhee also provided false wage information for McGhee in order for her to obtain two other mortgage loans: (1) a $414,000 loan from Lincoln Mortgage Company in October 2009, secured by the home where Fryar lives in Springfield, which McGhee owns, and (2) a sixth mortgage loan on McGhee’s home in Willingboro from Roma Bank in January 2010.
Between 1984 and 2000, Fryar played for the New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins. He is founder and pastor of the New Jerusalem House of God in Mount Holly, N.J.
Deputy Attorney General Mark Kurzawa presented the case to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau. Deputy Attorney General John Nicodemo assisted in preparing the case. Detective Kimberly Allen and retired Sgt. Robert Walker conducted the investigation for the Division of Criminal Justice. Acting Attorney General Hoffman thanked the FBI for their valuable assistance in the investigation. Special agents of the FBI Newark Division assisted in the investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford.
Second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The indictment was handed up today to Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson in Mercer County, who assigned it to Burlington County, where the defendants will be ordered to appear in court for arraignment at a later date.