Sixty-Six Months In Prison – Mortgage Fraudster Caught Before The Damage Was Done! Comments by Business Ethics Speaker Chuck Gallagher

A little over a year ago, Robert Michael Stewart, age 26, was providing “samples” of mortgage files to prospective buyers – those buyers intending to use the data for identity theft. Having obtained the data from his employment at a Pikesville, Maryland mortgage company, Stewart had files that included social security numbers, bank account and credit card numbers, copies of driver’s licenses, tax statements, payroll and statement of earnings, and bank account statements.

So in January 2007, Stewart had approximately 200 personal and financial data foldes at this home which were to be sold to others. After providing (cooperating witnesses) information to his buyers, Stewart negotiated the price for each file and told the buyers that he would sell 325 files for $50 each.

Wonder if it ever crossed Stewart’s mind that such a small sum would cost him so much of his life?

January 10, 2007, an individual helped Stewart carry files from the mortgage company to his vehicle. Then the next day, Stewart was observed loading boxes from his residence into his vehicle. Stewart then, along with the cooperating witness moved boxes from Stewart’s vehicle into the suspected purchasers vehicle (they were the cooperating witnesses). They paid Stewart $8,000.

Wow…a whopping $8,000. Well…Stewart took the money and then the long arm of the FBI came in and by that point it was all over. Arrested!

Every choice has a consequence!

According to the Mortgage Fraud Blog (an excellent resource):

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said, “People disclose sensitive personal and financial information every time they apply for mortgage loans and other forms of credit. Law enforcement agencies will continue to be aggressive in catching and punishing criminals who seek to use that information. Under federal law, every identity thief serves at least two years in federal prison in addition to the sentence for the fraud scheme.”

Young and stupid. I’ve been in that position and I know how difficult it is to accept the consequences for your actions. But, it is true, you reap what you sow. Sometimes the consequences from our actions (whether positive or negative) come quickly – much like Stewart experienced here. Many times consequences come long after choices are made. Fortunately, in this case, the fraudster was caught before the damage was done.

Sixty-six months in Federal prison will give Mr. Stewart a lot of time to think about the choices he made and what he will do with his life upon release. Every choice has a consequence. So if Stewart decides to make positive choices he can use his experience to benefit himself and others. Having much the same experience, I know that positive can come from a negative experience.

Chuck Gallagher - The Ethics Expert

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