An article in Seattlepi.com from the Associated Press reports that a Washington mortgage loan officer was sentenced to 18 months in prison for conspiracy to commit identity theft.
A portion of the article is shown below:
36-year-old Juanita Booker, of Seattle, was a loan officer at a Bellevue mortgage company.
She also was sentenced to $199,666 in restitution.
Booker provided identity theft ring leader Charles W. Griffin with personal financial information on people who had applied for a mortgage at her company.
Booker supplied Griffin with the personal and financial information on at least 16 different people who had applied for mortgages at the Bellevue company.
While I have reported on many folks who have either been indicted for mortgage fraud or been convicted of mortgage fraud and sentenced to prison, this is one of a few that I’ve seen where the conviction and sentence is for conspiracy.
Every choice has a consequence. Including thinking about doing something wrong and taking action.
Let me share a story from prison. Inmate Henry was convicted and sentenced to 5 years in federal prison for conspiracy to sell drugs. What did Henry do? Seems from official transcripts from his hearing, he told a known drug dealer where to find another drug dealer…thus conspiring to sell drugs.
Let’s look deeper. Henry was not a user or dealer of drugs. His sister did use and took up with a drug dealer who got busted. As part of the dealers agreement with the government, in order to reduce his sentence, he would turn states evidence against others. Seems that he (the busted drug dealer who dated Henry’s sister) told Henry that his supplier had been busted and he was wondering where he could buy cocaine. Henry refused information not once but twice (as Henry wasn’t a user and could have cared less).
Finally, on this guys third attempt Henry told him that while he did use and didn’t even approve of him dating his sister, there was a guy from high school who did, “Talk to him and quit asking me.”
Well…the guy took his advice, bought drugs from him, and turned him in. But, he also turned in Henry. Henry’s comments amounted to conspiracy to sell drugs and that earned Henry the designation of convicted felon with a 5 year sentence.
Now, what does this have to do with mortgage fraud, you might ask? Well, the issue isn’t the type of fraud but rather how and what one can be convicted of. Here, the issue is providing information in order that a crime might be committed. It is not necessary to commit the crime. Intent is critical and here the intent was called conspiracy.
While some readers might not think much of an 18 month sentence, I can speak from experience and say it can be life changing.
As a business ethics speaker, I routinely address groups around the country about choice and consequences. Having made bad choices that earned me a stint in federal prison and now serving as a Senior Sales Executive in a public company and national motivational speaker, I know the truth about consequences.
Never forget…every choice has a consequence. As we approach the new year, it’s important with the growing evidence of mortgage fraud, that we make well thought out choices that will provide positive results. Cause, from experience, the negative consequences suck!