An Odessa mortgage broker was sentenced to 15 months in Federal prison after pleading guilty to a mortgage scheme that allegedly cost local banks of over $5 million.
The 41-year-old man entered his guilty plea last fall alongside a Miami Beach developer to making false statements to financial institutions on mortgage loan applications.
According to investigators, the defendants began paying down payments for purchasers of condominiums in Temple Terrace in 2006 and claiming to banks that the buyers paid the down payments themselves, making them look to be a better credit risk than they actually were.
As a result of the scheme, borrowers signed loans they were unable to pay and, as the housing crisis cratered the market two years later, borrowers to whom he sold condos defaulted on their mortgages. All told, local banks lost over $5 million due to the scheme.
The defendant said in a written statement to the court that a family law dispute led him to drugs and alcohol, which then led him to make poor decisions, including recruiting family members to participate in the fraud in which he was engaged.
He went on to say that he later became homeless due to the addictions, but subsequently became sober and began to volunteer to aid others. In his statement he implored the court not to sentence him to prison, but his request was denied.
Along with prison, the federal judge sentenced him to three years of probation and ordered him to repay over $300,000 in restitution. The other man involved in the scheme was sentenced to 90 days in jail, three years of probation, and $5.36 million in restitution.