Christopher Warren DMV photo (left) and booking photo
SACRAMENTO, CA - As much as $6 million in gold and cash could be waiting for a self-described mortgage fraudster after he serves 11 years in federal prison.
Christopher Jared Warren, 29, pleaded guilty Tuesday to wire fraud and identify theft charges in exchange for a recommended prison sentence of 14.5 years.
Warren has already spent nearly 3 years in the Nevada County Jail following his arrest in Feb. 2009 at the U.S. border with Canada in Buffalo, NY.
According to prosecutors, Warren paid $156,000 for a private jet to carry him and millions of dollars in gold bullion from Las Vegas to Beirut, Lebanon, a week before his arrest.
Warren then flew commercial from Beirut to Toronto and took a cab to the Buffalo border crossing, where he tried to enter the U.S. with a false passport and $70,000 in cash stuffed into a cowboy boot.
Before Warren fled the U.S., he posted a seven-page confession on his company's website.
According to the plea agreement, Warren and a business partner stole $7.5 million during a one-month period from a Florida mortgage lender through their company, Triduanum Financial.
The business partner, Scott Edward Cavell, fled at the same time as Warren and remains a fugitive.
Warren and Cavell previously worked at Roseville-based Loomis Wealth Solutions, where Warren was personally responsible for $12.4 million in mortgage fraud, according to the plea agreement.
The head of Loomis Wealth Solutions, Lawrence "Lee" Loomis, 55, is suspected of operating a Ponzi scheme that caused tens of millions of dollars in losses to individual investors, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell Carlberg.
Although a multi-year investigation against Loomis continues, he has not yet been charged.
After Warren's arrest, the government recovered 276 gold coins valued at about a half-million dollars from a safe deposit box in Phoenix.
At least $6 million in fraud proceeds remain unaccounted for.
Carlberg said the plea agreement calls for a lifetime restitution order allowing authorities to seize Warren's assets at any time after his release from prison.
"Rest assured federal agents will be watching him," Carlberg said.
Warren will be formally sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge John Mendez on April 24.
by George Warren, GWarren@news10.net