A former Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper pled guilty in a US District Court on Monday to charges of mortgage fraud, bankruptcy fraud and witness tampering, the FBI announced.
Benjamin W. Richardson, 46, of Powell, Ohio, plead guilty to the eight-count indictment before US District Judge Gregory L. Frost. Richardson was arrested in September of 2011 by FBI agents and has been in custody since. Richardson resigned from the Ohio State Highway Patrol when the charges were returned.
In 2005, Richardson took part in a conspiracy to defraud mortgage lending institutions out of $678,275 in loans involving three properties he was buying, as well as the refinancing of his own home, he admitted. He admitted to under-reporting his income when filing for bankruptcy in 2007 as well.
With a guilty plea on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and four counts of wire fraud, Richardson faces up to 30 years for each crime, though a sentencing date has not yet been set. Five more years are possible for each of two additional counts: making false statements and false oaths in bankruptcy. For attempting to prevent a witness from talking with law enforcement during the investigation, Richardson also pled guilty to witness tampering, which can carry up to 20 years.