Title attorney gets 40 months for multiple crimes

by Ryan Smith07 Sep 2017
A Florida title attorney will spend nearly four years in prison and pay more than $3.7 million in restitution for perpetrating mortgage-related scams against multiple banks and embezzling from another.

Robert Michael Colbert of Pensacola Beach was sentenced to 40 months in prison for conspiracy to commit bank and mail fraud, false statements to a federally insured financial institution, money laundering, theft and embezzlement, according to Christopher P. Canova, US attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

According to the US Attorney’s Office, in 2007, while working as a title attorney, Colbert submitted a false HUD-1 to a now-defunct bank in order for one of his business partners to obtain a million-dollar loan. The bank ended up sustaining more than $636,000 in losses as a result of the scam.

In 2010m Colbert handled several closings that defrauded Bank of America, Community Bank, and the now-defunct Premier Community Bank. The banks sustained losses of more than $2.3 million from the fraud. And starting in December 2010 – while he was acting as an escrow agent for Beach Community Bank – Colbert embezzled and misapplied more than $400,000 from the bank. Between December of 2010 and March of 2011, prosecutors say that Colbert conducted a series of transactions to launder the money he embezzled. When Beach Community Bank contacted Colbert to find out where the money was, he got money from a third party to replace it. However, shortly after placing the third party’s money into Beach Community Bank’s account, he embezzled more than $237,000 from the same account.

Colbert also stole about $36,000 from four homeowners/condo associations he’d been entrusted to oversee, prosecutors said.

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