Long delay before sentencing in mortgage fraud case

After a conviction in a federal criminal case, there is often a delay before the sentencing hearing. In some cases the delay is longer than others, but in a recent mortgage fraud case, the sentences were not handed down until almost five years had passed. The longest sentence in the case was only about half as long as the wait to find out what it would be.

The mortgage fraud case had been prosecuted in several courts including the federal district court in Atlanta. Last week, four of the accused were sentenced, and two more are expected to receive their sentences today. The four sentenced last week had all pleaded guilty nearly five years ago.

The sentences for the four ranged from eight months of house arrest to 27 months in federal prison. Some of the defendants were also required to make restitution payments. The eight-month sentence was less than what was called for by the sentencing guidelines. The judge made a downward departure due to that defendant’s cooperation with the government.

The sentence in this case was delayed due a 2008 Federal Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. In that case, which involved the former husband of the cooperating defendant in this case, the court called for a more precise calculation of the losses allegedly caused by the fraud. To determine the proper sentence, the appeals court indicated that there should be a loan-by-loan analysis, rather than stating an overall amount or relying on an estimate of the intended losses.

Source: The Clarion Ledger, “2 get prison terms in mortgage fraud scheme,” Jimmie E. Gates, Nov. 4, 2011