Tough Terms Handed Out for Mortgage Fraud

     DALLAS (CN) – Five defendants were sentenced to years in federal prison for a $22 million mortgage fraud scheme they ran out of Dallas-Fort Worth.
     The scheme was led by Michael Anthony Baker, 31, of Dallas, who used straw buyers and fraudulent documents to coax lenders out of $22 million in loans, the U.S. District Attorney’s Office said in a statement announcing the sentences.
     Baker and his cohorts fraudulently obtained mortgages in others’ names for more than the sales price and found straw buyers with sufficient credit to qualify for the loans, prosecutors said. They created surplus loan proceeds with bogus invoices for repairs and upgrades that were never performed, let the homes to go into foreclosure, then split up the loan proceeds.
     Baker was sentenced on Friday to 15 years in federal prison and ordered to pay $7,546,739 in restitution. He pleaded guilty in August 2011 to wire fraud and money laundering,
     Monique Untae Stallworth, 37, of Garland, and Baker’s brother Koreem Baker, 34, of Dallas, each pleaded guilty to wire fraud and engaging in monetary transactions with criminally derived property.
     Stallworth was sentenced in January to 3½ years in federal prison.
     Koreem Baker was sentenced to 4 years and 9 months in federal prison.
     Prosecutors said both opened bank accounts that were used to receive money from titles companies for “upgrades” to homes, based on bogus invoices submitted to the title companies at closing.
     Sterling Wesley Harris, 29, of Dallas, was sentenced to 6 years and 10 months in federal prison. He pleaded guilty in August to wire fraud.
     Folami Dayo Baker, 36, of Desoto, was sentenced to 3 years and 1 month in federal prison. She pleaded guilty in October 2011 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She worked as a loan officer/processor with Lunar Mortgage Services, a mortgage brokerage in Lewisville.

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