Woman convicted in East TN loan fraud scheme ordered to repay nearly $1 million

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Georgia woman been sentenced to more than a decade behind bars and ordered to repay nearly $1 million for an expansive fraudulent loan scheme in East Tennessee.

Wynde Collins, 56, of Atlanta, has been sentenced to 121 months in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee after committing bank fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Federal prosecutors presented evidence at trial that Collins directed the scheme from June 2014-December 2019 to defraud financial institutions by falsifying employment, income and collateral information on auto loan and mortgage loan applications with credit unions and banks including Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union and Y-12 Federal Credit Union.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Collins has been directing others, including co-conspirators to launder the loan proceeds from financial institutions. Over two million in fraudulent loans were funded.

Investigators said they found evidence during an investigation into a large-scale drug trafficking organization.

Collins has been ordered to pay $855,374.21 in restitution to the victims’ financial institutions in this case and ordered to forfeit $100,000 of the fraud proceeds she personally obtained.

“Collins’ fraud scheme caused financial hardship to individuals and exploited the loan
practices of credit unions, all while the defendant enriched herself,” said Francis M. Hamilton III, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee. “It is critical that such fraudsters be
stopped, and our office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to target
criminal fraudulent activity.”

“Illegal activity involving fraudulent loans has brought financial hardship to banks, credit
unions and individual borrowers,” said Donald “Trey” Eakins III, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) special agent in charge at the Charlotte Field Office. “IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to using our accounting skills to help unravel complex fraud and money laundering schemes. We are proud to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute individuals who attempt to enrich themselves by fraudulent means, and to help put a stop to this and other types of white-collar crime.”

Co-defendant Alvin Johnson, an automobile broker who conspired with Collins, entered a plea agreement with the U.S. and is scheduled for sentencing on July 7, 2023.

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