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Buffalo man pleads guilty to federal bank fraud charges

Brian Smith, 42, of Buffalo, who had been arrested for applying for more than $1 million in fraudulent loans, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder Tuesday to bank fraud charges. He and Kelly Atkinson, 32, of Wake Forest, North Carolina, who was his codefendant in a multi-state scheme, will both be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara in January. Atkinson recently pleaded guilty to applying for up to $460,000 in fraudulent loans.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Maura K. O’Donnell and Russell T. Ippolito, Jr., said Smith defrauded a number of banks, credit unions, peer-to-peer lenders and individuals out of funds through phoney investment schemes and he bought a Land Rover vehicle using a fraudulent credit card application he obtained. The prosecutors said Smith also had set up a mortgage fraud scheme using a fake “straw” borrower in Buffalo to obtain mortgages fraudulently on property in the Atlanta, Georgia area in recent years.

Smith and Atkinson were prosecuted because of an FBI investigation of the inter-state scheme.