Attorney Sentenced For Assisting In $5M Mortgage Fraud Scheme
Howard Gaines, Deerfield Beach, Florida, has been sentenced for his role in a complex mortgage fraud scheme. Gaines, an attorney and a licensed title agent with Your Title Choice, Inc., in Deerfield Beach, Florida, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas to 8 years in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. In addition, Gaines was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $422,465 to three lenders.
A jury convicted Gaines in December 2008 on one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and two counts of mail fraud.
This is the sixth conviction in this case, following five earlier guilty pleas by other conspirators. According to the evidence presented at trial, Gaines, as a title agent, aided co-conspirator Anthony Dehaney and others to close on fraudulent loans. Among the fraudulent documents presented at closings were HUD 1 Settlement Forms, which falsely represented that buyers were using their own money to close on the purchases. The evidence showed that Gaines helped Dehaney close more than $10,000,000 in loans during 2004, 2005, and 2006, including $5,000,000 in fraudulent mortgages.
R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Henry Gutierrez, Postal Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Alex Hager, Acting Commissioner, Florida Department of Financial Regulation, made the announcement.
Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the State of Florida Office of Financial Regulation for their work on this case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jeffrey Kay and Jennifer Keene of the Fort Lauderdale Office.