Former UC star Anthony Buford admits guilt in mortgage fraud scheme

CINCINNATI - Anthony Buford, the former University of Cincinnati basketball star who helped lead the team to the Final Four in 1992, has admitted guilt in a mortgage fraud scheme.

Details of the fraud and his plea agreement are outlined in paperwork filed Thursday in United States District Court, Western Division, Southern District of Ohio.

Buford and his girlfriend, Jolie O. Neal, conspired to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud, according to court documents.

In their plea agreements, the two admitted defrauding Fifth Third Bank and Lehman Brothers Bank out of $2,779,500 by taking out loans on three Mason properties they owned. The two brokered and applied for loans nine times on the properties. Instead of using the money to pay off the existing mortgages, Buford and Neal used the money for personal expenses, according to court documents.

When the two met, Buford worked for Dynus Financial as a mortgage broker. Neal owned Tri-State Title Company. As part of the scheme, they would process loans for each other. The offenses happened between September 2004 and July 2007.

The maximum penalties for conspiracy to commit mail, wire and bank fraud are imprisonment for up to 30 years, a $1,000,000 fine, five years supervised release and a $100 special assessment. According to the court documents, the two will also so be ordered to pay $2,987,300 in restitution.

Federal Judge Herman J. Weber will decide whether to accept Buford's plea agreement as well as decide the severity of his sentence. That court date has not been set.

Buford currently works as an analyst of Bearcats basketball games for FOX Sports Ohio.

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