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Friday, May 17, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Court Upholds Sentence |in Mortgage Fraud

(CN) - The 8th Circuit rejected prosecutors' bid to extend the prison sentence of mortgage broker Nelson Miller, who was convicted in January 2008 of sending fraudulent loan documents to lenders.

Prosecutors had asked the court to open a hearing to extend Nelson's prison sentence of one year and one day.

A jury had found him guilty of wire fraud and 15 counts of aiding and abetting wire fraud.

From 2000 to 2002, Miller and his co-conspirators - various employees of Freedom Financial and Absolute Everything - submitted loan documents that misrepresented home appraisal values, borrowers' qualifications and whether the title was free and clear of liens. The documents also hid fees and service charges.

Prosecutors appealed Miller's sentencing, claiming it was based on the false premise that "there is neither intended loss nor actual loss in this case."

"The government categorically rejects this premise," prosecutors argued. They said the loss "cannot be determined," and urged the court to consider Miller's profits of $355,191 in fees and commissions on 84 loans.

The district court declined, saying the loss was zero, because the government offered no evidence pegging an actual amount. It then sided with Miller in dropping most of the sentencing enhancements.

The St. Louis-based appeals court agreed that the government's evidence, or lack thereof, did not support a harsher sentence. And with no actual or intended loss, the court added, Miller's gain can't be substituted for loss.

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