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Plea bargain nets California man 12-year sentence for fraud

A California man recently received a 144-month prison sentence and three years of supervised release for his part in a mortgage fraud conspiracy. In addition to the 12-year jail sentence, the federal judge presiding over the matter also ordered the man to pay $1 million in restitution to homeowners allegedly defrauded by his activity and nearly $100,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

According to reports, the man worked for a company that allegedly contacted homeowners in California and solicited them to either sell or refinance their homes to third parties. With the assistance of these parties, the homeowners were then asked to allow investors with good credit to be added to their home's title.

The plan was apparently sold to the homeowners as a means to protect them from foreclosure. In most cases, however, the title was never transferred back to the homeowners.

The federal investigation into the company's activities was conducted by the United States Attorney's Office, and assisted by the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to court records, more than 20 homeowners were involved in these transactions.

In order to receive a reduced sentence, the man pled guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion. The hope is that this decision came after the man consulted with an attorney. Federal prosecutors are very eager to put those suspected of white collar crimes behind bars in light of the housing crisis. For this reason, it is particularly important to determine what legal moves will best protect your rights at every stage of a criminal trial.

Mortgage fraud is a serious crime that can carry serious penalties, as this case demonstrates. In these times, even the allegation of mortgage fraud may be enough to bias a jury. Far too many consumers have suffered because of the bad behavior of a few, which is why an active defense is necessary.

Source: Imperial Valley News, "Anaheim Hills Man Sentenced to Prison for Mortgage Fraud Conspiracy," July 10, 2012

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