A mortgage broker imprisoned for fraud is requesting his sentence be vacated due to improper court procedures and allegedly bad advice. The man was sentenced to serve 19 years in prison for mortgage fraud, which happened to be one of the longest sentences ever handed down in the Charlotte area for this type of crime. The man is requesting his sentencing be dismissed, set aside or corrected.
He says his crimes occurred long before he was indicted and that his court-appointed attorneys kept him unaware of some of the court proceedings. The man claims the misguidance he received made it impossible for him to knowingly enter a guilty plea.
In his filing, he says that his counsel was ineffective and that his constitutional rights were violated. He also alleges prosecutorial misconduct. Specifically, he claims that solicited testimony was unsubstantiated and that the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedures were violated.
He pleaded guilty for his part in a so-called house-flipping scam, which involved loans totaling about $15 million and over 200 properties. He also pleaded guilty to other crimes including bank fraud, money laundering and making false statements to a bank. The man did not receive, nor was offered, a plea deal. The U.S. Attorney's Office and other defendants targeted in the suit did not comment on the former broker's filing.
It will be interesting to see if his sentence is reduced or even dismissed. The former broker is also on the hook for $3.5 million in restitution, which may have also played a factor in his court filing. While it remains to be seen what the result of this appeal will be, the fact that he pleaded guilty may impact the thinking of any appellate court as it seeks to separate fact from fiction. In any case, he will need strong representation to ensure that his legal rights are fully protected at all stages of these continued proceedings.
Source: WCNC, "Mortgage broker convicted of fraud wants his sentence vacated," Kristen Valle Pittman, May 16, 2012