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.



St. Elmo Check Into Cash Employee Robbed At Gunpoint

A Check Into Cash clerk was robbed at gunpoint on Monday evening. Investigators with the Chattanooga Police Department responded at 6:34 p.m. to a robbery from a business at 3801 Tennessee Ave. Upon arrival, officers spoke with the store clerk, and the  clerk reported speaking with the suspect who then brandished a pistol.  The suspect walked the clerk ... (click for more)

Some Closings And Delays Set Tuesday Due To Inclement Weather

Marion, Grundy and Polk schools are closed Tuesday due to the expected inclement weather. Hamilton County Schools will be on a two-hour delay on   Tuesday . School Age Child Care will be closed. 12-month employees will report on regular schedule.  Walker County Transit will be closed Tuesday . Walker County Schools will be on a two-hour delay. (click for more)

The City Failed To Watch The Chattanooga History Museum Dollars - And Response (3)

The tell tale signs of the History Museum's folly have been evident for years. When I was a former member of City Council I interviewed Dr. Daryl Black, Ph.D. to determine if I should argue for or against the annual funding of his organization. His interview, the multi-year history of administrative non-performance (despite consistent repetitive funding), and a review of the organizational ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Momma Bears Roar

If I could count Hamilton County’s best educators on one hand, Normal Park Elementary Principal Jill Levine would be the biggest finger. What she and her faculty and a dazzling commitment from both her students and parents have accomplished is an educational dream. I am told people literally move to North Chattanooga just so their children will be zoned for the award-winning school. ... (click for more)

Bradley Edges Cleveland, 88-86, On Copeland Game-Winner In Fourth OT

(Story will be updated) CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Thirty-two minutes were not enough to settle the latest Cleveland-Bradley Central basketball showdown. The two bitter rivals needed 16 more before junior Cole Copeland’s turn-around jumper in the fourth overtime to provide the winning points in a colossal 88-86 District 5-3A barn-burner before a capacity crowd at Jim Smiddy Arena ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Softball Picked To Win SoCon Title

The Chattanooga Mocs have been selected as the preseason favorite to win the 2016 Southern Conference softball title by the league's head coaches. Senior second baseman Criket Blanco was named Preseason First-Team All-SoCon and sophomore pitcher Cori Jennings, senior shortstop Alyssa Taylor and senior outfielder Sam Taylor were selected to the Preseason Second-Team All-SoCon. ... (click for more)