It began as a quest for money. Easy money it seemed, as all was needed was documentation that was fake. Inflated income, false loan documentation, those are the items that can change a life.
It was the prime of life for Leslie Saunders, age 34, who plead guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. This was part of a $14 million dollar mortgage fraud program that focused on low income borrows.
Saunders admitted in his plea that he conspired with others (a federal indictment against six others was handed down in November 2007) to obtain loans fraudulently through submitting false information to lenders mostly through inflated property appraisals.
Saunders stipulated that he participated in fraudulent acts that led to losses of $2.5 million. Sentencing is scheduled for February 2008 and Saunders could face as much as 20 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines.
While it is unlikely that Saunders will get the maximum sentence, reality is for him, this will be his last Christmas season free for a while. And, speaking from experience, Christmas in prison isn’t fun. I know, I’ve been there.
As a business ethics speaker and senior sales executive for a public company today, I often have the opportunity to speak to corporate executives about choices and consequences. All to often, good people find themselves faced with mounting temptation and make choices that have grave unintended consequences.
Every Choice Has A Consequence!
Saunders soon will experience the consequences of his actions. While, for a short while, his actions might have provided financial pleasure, the longer-term consequences will have lasting and far-reaching implications.
Almost daily there is information about mortgage fraud and prosecutions that are following. It is important if you serve in the mortgage industry to apply clear ethical standards to actions taken. Too often those so-called, “grey areas” tend to lead to the “grey” metal beams of a prison bed. And they aren’t comfortable!