MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A Berkeley County sheriff’s deputy has pleaded not guilty to bank fraud charges that have been filed against him in federal district court in Martinsburg.
Steven A. Crites, 41, of 501 Ropp Drive, Martinsburg, was released on his own recognizance Friday after being arraigned by Magistrate David J. Joel, according to court records. Crites’ trial is scheduled to begin June 19, according to court records.
Crites requested to be placed on administrative leave a couple of weeks ago, Berkeley County Sheriff Kenneth Lemaster said Monday.
“At this point, he’s not receiving a paycheck,” Lemaster said.
Crites was working as a real estate developer and builder when the alleged crimes involving Wells Fargo Bank happened between May 2006 and March 2008, according to a four-count indictment filed April 3.
The indictment, which was unsealed Friday, alleges Crites devised a scheme to defraud the bank, and that in April and May 2007, he overstated his income on applications to secure mortgage loans from the bank to purchase town homes In Inwood, W.Va., from his business partnerships, Topaz LLC and Eagle Properties LLC, court documents state.
Crites is accused of obtaining the proceeds from three mortgage loans, each in the amount of $166,000, from Wells Fargo for the purchase of three Topaz Lane town homes in Inwood on April 27, 2007, according to the indictment, which was unsealed Friday.
On June 8, 2007, Crites obtained $193,500 in mortgage loan proceeds to purchase a town home on Pulpit Lane near Martinsburg, according to court records.
Crites then allegedly transferred the town homes used to secure the mortgage loans to VAC LLC.
Crites became a partner and had held a 50 percent interest in VAC LLC and the other two limited-liability companies, beginning in 2006, according to court documents.
After he failed to make some payments on the loans, the properties were foreclosed upon and the bank suffered “substantial losses,” according to the indictment.