Mesa County landowner indicted on 23 felonies in mortgage scheme
Grand Junction Correspondent
Glenwood Springs, CO
Mark Strodtman, a Greeley developer who owns close to 400 acres in Mesa County, was indicted Tuesday on 23 felonies, including racketeering, a Class 2 felony.
A Weld County grand jury indicted Strodtman and two others who were involved with him in a mortgage fraud scheme that left many Greeley area families in foreclosure, reduced property values of neighboring homes and defrauded lenders, according to the Weld County District Attorney’s Office.
Strodtman agreed to turn himself in to the Weld County authorities, according to the DA there. His bond was to have been set at $100,000. As of Tuesday night, Strodtman had not relinquished himself to authorities.
Strodtman’s Mesa County property is in the vicinity of the north branch of the Old Spanish Trail on Orchard Mesa. He could not be reached to comment for this story.
A company representing Strodtman, Pickett Engineering, held a neighborhood meeting last month on Orchard Mesa to discuss developing 17 acres of Strodtman’s land into a subdivision with 30 to 40 homes.
According to documents filed with the Colorado secretary of state, Strodtman formed the company The Shores LLC. The Shores hired Pickett to petition Grand Junction to annex those 17 acres.
Area neighbors are dismayed at the prospect of a subdivision going up along the Old Spanish Trail ” a designated national historic trail. The trail cuts through Strodtman’s land and adjoining Bureau of Land Management property.
Grand Junction planner Lori Bowers said the city received the annexation application last week, but it has not yet been processed.
She said it would probably be processed in about a week.
News of Strodtman’s indictment is “not knowledge to us,” Bowers said.
If presented with documents from the Weld County District Attorney, Bowers said she wouldn’t look at it. She’d hand it to the city’s legal department.
“If the paperwork is in order we will process it. That’s it in a nutshell,” Bowers said.
“We don’t do background checks. Someone could be a felon and it wouldn’t preclude them from submitting an application for annexation.”
According to the Greeley Tribune, in April 2007 more than 20 homeowners said Strodtman and his associates from JS Real Estate LLC tricked them into buying homes out of their price range by falsifying documentation to approve their loans.
In Weld County, Strodtman is accused of falsely inflating buyers’ incomes and assets, falsely verifying buyers’ jobs, falsely verifying and inflating buyers’ bank records, falsely certifying HUD documents he knew were false, among other allegations.
He is also suspected of under-representing mortgage payments to the buyers.
Strodtman “agreed to pay the buyers a kickback from the proceeds of the sale of the homes,” the indictment said.
Strodtman was charged with Weld County’s first Colorado Organized Crime Control Act case ” pattern of racketeering, a Class 2 felony punishable by up to 48 years in prison if aggravating circumstances are met. He is also charged with 11 counts of theft of $15,000 or more, a Class 3 felony punishable by up to 24 years in prison per count; and 11 counts of forgery-check/commercial instrument, a Class 5 felony punishable by up to six years per count.
The crimes were alleged to have taken place from 2004 to 2007.
The year-long investigation by the Weld County District Attorney’s Office began with a tip from a local real estate agent, according to the district attorney’s office.
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