Neal Pascal Enters Guilty Plea To Mortgage Fraud

He Is Free On Bond Until Sentencing March 29

Thursday, December 14, 2006
Neal Pascal
Neal Pascal
- photo by Drawing by Wes Schultz

Former Channel 9 weatherman Neal Pascal pleaded guilty in Federal Court Thursday morning to a mortgage fraud charge.

Pascal, 51, appeared before Judge Curtis Collier.

He afterwards went before a federal magistrate to get a bond.

His sentencing was set for March 29 at 2 p.m.

The bill of information says he inflated the price of a house he bought so he would get enough cash back on the loan to cover his down payment.

A six-page plea agreement was filed at the same time as the two-page bill of information.

Prosecutor Gary Humble says Pascal faces up to five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. But the plea agreement indicates he could get much less by his guilty plea and by cooperating with federal officials in prosecuting others.

Pascal is charged with a single count of filing a false statement.

The bill of information says he "did knowingly make and use and cause to be made and used a false writing and document, knowing the same to contain a materially false statement and represent the sales price to be $129,000 on a HUD settlement statement form. . ." That was April 29, 2002.

The actual sales price was $110,000 on the house at 2416 Corral Trail in Chattanooga, officials said.

Prosecutors said Pascal purchased a large number of real estate properties in the Chattanooga and North Georgia areas.

The plea agreement says he typically identified properties that were for sale by owner. He would negotiate a sales price, then request that the owner "agree to an artificial and inflated sales price in order to enable him to borrow more money from the lender."

The seller would agree to refund the difference to Pascal at closing, officials said.

The plea agreement says, "The difference usually represented the down payment and allowed the defendant to purchase the property without having to make a permanent down payment that required use of his own money."

The plea agreement says, "The defendant's scheme involved the preparation of false settlement papers, including a false HUD-1 form."

It says the documents were prepared at closing with the knowledge and participation of the mortgage broker and the title company.

The HUD-1 form provides that it is signed subject to penalty of perjury and subject to prosecution under federal law, it was stated.

On the Corral Trail property, Pascal agreed with the seller to inflate the sales price. The false HUD-1 form listed the sales price at $129,500.

Executive Title Company prepared the false HUD form.

Officials said after the closing, the seller wrote a check to Pascal for $19,500, "representing the additional money received from the lender as a result of the fraud."

The lender was ABN AMRO Mortgage Company of Michigan.

The plea agreement says Pascal is required to meet with prosecutors and officers whenever requested and to testify before a federal grand jury and a trial jury if requested.

The agreement says if Pascal "provides substantial assistance," then "the United States will file a motion or motions at the appropriate time" on cutting his penalty.

Dee Hobbs is the attorney for Pascal.



Representative Tom Graves Honors Fallen Georgia Hero On House Floor

Representative Tom Graves spoke on the House floor on Wednesday in honor of Navy Petty Officer Second Class Randall Smith, who was killed in the terrorist attack in Chattanooga on July 16.  A transcript of Rep. Graves’ remarks is below.  "Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, who was killed on July 16th during the terrorist ... (click for more)

Middle-Of-The-Night Fracas On South Dent Lands Drunken Couple In Jail

A Middle Valley man and the Benton, Tn., woman charged with trying to help him resist arrest now have something new in common: twin arrests, and upcoming court appearances.   The incident began around  3 a.m.  las Saturday, when a Hamilton County Sheriff’s deputy on patrol encountered a green Chevy truck stopped on the road in the 7300 block ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Strong

The hearts, minds and prayers of Tennesseans, and of the entire nation, have been turned toward Chattanooga this month.  We are sickened and saddened by the senseless tragedy, and we grieve for the families of the five service members who were killed, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan, Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, Lance Cpl. Squire “Skip” K. Wells, Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Dr. Palmer, You’re Toast

America is absolutely furious! By 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon there were 36,000 people who had petitioned the White House to extradite Walter Palmer, who is today the most despised man in all of North America. On the Yelp.com website, that promotes his dentistry business in Eden Prairie, Minn, over 6,000 had posted violent, vulgar and vicious notes and, for the record, 60 of them ... (click for more)

Ooltewah, Rhea Co. Picked To Win Region 4-5A Football

The Ooltewah Owls and the Rhea County Golden Eagles both advanced to the Class 5-A football playoffs last fall with Ooltewah getting eliminated by the Golden Eagles in the second round. Both teams entered that contest unbeaten, but Rhea County routed the Owls by a 47-14 final to advance. Rhea County went on to with 13 straight games before getting beat in the semis by ... (click for more)

Owls, Eagles Look Back Differently At 2014 Showdown

For the first time since they played in the second round of the 2014 Class AAA state football playoffs, a few Ooltewah and Rhea County players were together Wednesday at the Region 4-5A media day at The Bridge in Ooltewah. The Owls and Eagles, obviously, have polar-opposite thoughts on last year’s second round game in Evensville on a brutally cold Friday night. That’s because ... (click for more)