Episode 59: Real Estate Home Wrecker

American Greed takes you inside the FBI investigation that cracked a $69 million dollar fraud!

Case File

Real Estate Home Wrecker
Homebuilding giant Bill Erpenbeck promised clients the house of their dreams. But when he diverted $34 million worth of mortgage payments into his company's bank account, those dreams soon became nightmares.

Real Estate Home Wrecker

  • The Erpenbeck Company
  • The Erpenbeck family had been building trust along with homes for decades. Bill Erpenbeck wanted to take the family company into the modern age and began building condominium projects and sprawling subdivisions. He became one of the largest housing developers in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky and enjoyed a great deal of success.
  • The Scam
  • The Erpenbeck Company sold hundreds of homes and collected millions of dollars. But unknown to its clients, Bill Erpenbeck was depositing homebuyer checks into the company bank account, checks that were intended to pay off the banks that lent him the money for construction. Bill Erpenbeck was running a shell game.
  • The Homebuyers
  • The Erpenbeck scam was far-reaching and affected more than 40 title companies and 40 banks. More than 250 people who purchased houses and condominiums from Erpenbeck were stunned to discover they were in danger of losing their new homes.

Web Extras

  • How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Mortgage Fraud Wednesday, 4 Apr 2012 | 4:25 PM ET
    Bill Erpenbeck

    Home ownership may be the largest purchase of your lifetime, but if you don’t do your homework before signing on the dotted line, it can end up being your worst financial nightmare.

  • Top States for Mortgage Fraud Monday, 2 Apr 2012 | 11:13 AM ET
    Mortgage fraud is a growing threat to homeowners and businesses, according to the FBI. With the changing housing landscape come new schemes. Foreclosures and delinquencies have soared over the last few years, and the FBI says that has resulted in an increase in mortgage fraud schemes against distressed homeowners. New original loan fraud investigations, on the other hand, have dropped since there was a decrease in new mortgages in 2011. Mortgage fraud schemes have “some type of material misstate

    Foreclosures and delinquencies have soared over the last few years, and the FBI says that has resulted in an increase in mortgage fraud schemes against distressed homeowners.

  • The Erpenbeck Clan     Monday, 2 Apr 2012 | 12:00 AM ET

    Bill Erpenbeck presided over his entourage at local bars, expecting everyone to show their loyalty.

  • The Investigation     Monday, 2 Apr 2012 | 12:00 AM ET

    FBI Agent Kevin Gormley explains how Bill Erpenbeck sabotages his own cooperation efforts while recording conversations with bankers.

  • Hand Carry Payment Authorization Friday, 7 Sep 2012 | 2:31 PM ET

    Hand Carry Payment Authorization form signed by Michelle Marksberry for Triple Crown Builders, a subsidiary of the Erpenbeck Company.

  • Liens to Mitchell Friday, 7 Sep 2012 | 2:32 PM ET

    Homebuyers Charles and Sherry Mitchell received a notice alerting them to a lien against their new home. Later, Bill Erpenbeck sends the Mitchells a letter apologizing for the lien notice.

American Greed Showtimes

Friday, April 18th 12p – 6p ET
12p ET AG #79
The Lady Killer
1p ET AG #82
Young Lust Goes Bust
4p ET AG #81
Murder in Memphis
The Prisoner of Wall Street
Saturday, April 19th 1a, 3a ET/PT
$udden Death/ Hip Hop Hustle
Sunday, April 20th 1a, 3a ET/PT
Check the U.S. TV schedule for additional showtimes.

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