Wednesday, October 4, 2023
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Court Outburst Leads to Stiff Sentence

SACRAMENTO (CN) - An outburst in court contributed to the seven-year, three-month sentence a federal judge handed a Sacramento mortgage fraudster Monday.

Leonard E. Williams, 52, was convicted by a jury in July 2014 of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud and two counts of money laundering.

At his sentencing Monday, U.S. District Judge William Shubb said that Williams' outburst in front of the jury on the last day of his trial contributed to the stiff sentence.

Williams shouted at the jury and ignored Shubb's order to stop talking until the jury could be removed. At sentencing, Shubb called Williams's behavior "unacceptable," and said Williams intended to cause a mistrial.

Trial evidence showed that Williams conspired with others to run a mortgage fraud scheme in Sacramento and Chico, through his companies Diamond Hill Financial and Bay Area Real Estate Holdings. More than $2 million in home loans was issued, and most of the buyers defaulted, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in announcing the sentence.

"In most cases, at Williams' suggestion and encouragement, the loan applications falsely stated that the buyers worked at Diamond Hill Financial, and Williams himself maintained the charade by confirming this false information when lenders called to verify it," according to the U.S. attorney.

Williams's cohort in the scheme, Joshua Clymer, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and will be sentenced on Feb. 9.

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