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BizJournals.com: Former Dallas Cowboy and others arrested


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Former Dallas Cowboys football player Eugene Lockhart Jr. of Carrollton was arrested Thursday morning by FBI agents for his involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme, the U.S. Attorneys Office announced in a statement Thursday.

Lockhart was indicted by a federal grand jury along with eight others for participating in an alleged scheme in which the partners are said to have found single-family homes in the Dallas area for the purpose of negotiating a sale price with the seller and then inflating the sale price to later produce larger loan proceeds.

The team is accused of recruiting individuals to act as “straw purchasers” and straw borrowers and of promising to pay them a bonus or commission for participating in a home buying transaction. The indictment says the participants created loan applications for false borrowers using false financial information and inaccurate income figures to get lenders to approve the loans. Lenders loaning the money were never informed that the straw borrowers had no intention of occupying the residences. In addition, the U.S. Attorney’s office alleges the conspirators used bogus marketing fees on loan closing documents to receive more in loan proceeds.

Overall, the U.S. Attorney’s office said the conspiracy involved 54 fraudulent residential property loan closings and $20.5 million in fraudulent loans.

Lendell Beacham, 50, of DeSoto also was arrested by FBI agents Thursday, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. Other defendants named by the U.S. Attorney's Office are William Randolph Tisdale, 45; Hubert Jones III, 39; Patricia Ortega Suarez, 55; Suzette Switzer Hinds, 45; Michael Anthony Caldwell, 49; Donna Lois Kneeland, 45; and Bryan J. Moorman, 67.

The defendants face various charges of conspiracy, bank fraud and wire fraud.

None of the defendants could be immediately reached for comment. As of early Thursday afternoon, Lockhart and Beacham were facing arraignment and attorneys had yet to be named.

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Eugene Lockhart, [Linebacker]] from the University of Houston, was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the 6th round of the 1984 NFL Draft.

He became the first rookie in Cowboys history to start at middle linebacker, when Bob Breunig went down with a back injury during the first half of the season.

In 1985, after Bob Breunig retired, he became just the fourth player in Cowboys history to held the job of starting middle linebacker.

In Dallas, his hard hits earned him the nickname "mean gene, the hitting machine".

Lockhart, led the Cowboys in tackles for several years and contributed more than 100 tackles in every season but 1987 (when he suffered a broken bone in his leg).

He played for the Cowboys during a low point in the franchise history, and a lot of times, he was one of the few legitimate players on sub par defenses.

In 1989, he led the NFL and set a club record with 222 tackles. He also led the team in interceptions (2) and set club records with 154 solo tackles, 16 double-digit tackle games and 16 solo tackles in one game vs. Phoenix (10-29-1989). He earned first team All Pro honors and was a bright spot on anotherwise dismal 1-15 team.

In 1990, he led the Cowboys with 139 tackles (72 solos) and was named second team All NFC by United Press International.

On 1991-04-19, in exchange for the first overall draft pick (Russell Maryland), he was traded to the Patriots along with cornerback Ron Francis, linebacker David Howard, 1991 first round pick (#11 Pat Harlow) and 1991 second round pick (#41 Jerome Henderson).

While cleaning out his locker, he was quoted saying: "It's a cold business—a cold, cold business, And it's even colder in New England".

Lockhart played in the NFL for 9 seasons (7 with the Cowboys, 2 with the Patriots), started 117 games, recorded close to 1,000 tackles, 16 sacks and 6 interceptions (1 returned for a TD).

Former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Eugene "The Hitting Machine" Lockhart was arrested by FBI agents at his Carrollton home Thursday morning after being indicted on mortgage fraud charges, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

[edit] Lockhardt faces up to 30 years in prison

Lockhart, 48, and eight others were indicted by a federal grand jury on various charges, including conspiracy, bank fraud and wire fraud. The alleged scheme involved approximately 54 fraudulent residential property loan closings resulting in the funding of $20.5 million in fraudulent loans.

Lockhart, who played for the Cowboys from 1984-90, and co-conspirator Lendell Beacham, 50, of DeSoto, were scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate at 1 p.m. If convicted, they could face up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

The indictment alleges that Lockhart and the others ran a scheme in which they located single-family residences for sale in the Dallas area, including distressed and pre-foreclosure properties, and negotiated a sales price with the seller. They allegedly created surplus loan proceeds by inflating the sales price to an arbitrary amount substantially more than the fair market value of the residence.

The statement from the U.S. Attorney's office added that the group recruited individuals to submit false financial information and act as "straw purchasers" or "straw borrowers," promising to pay them a bonus or commission for their participation.

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