Attorney General Bill McCollum News Release
February 3, 2010
Media Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
Seminole County Man Gets Prison Term for Mortgage Fraud
TALLAHASSEE, FL - Attorney General Bill McCollum and Office of Financial Regulation Commissioner J. Thomas Cardwell today announced that a Seminole County man was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to a criminal racketeering scheme that involved mortgage fraud in home purchasing. Upon his release from prison, Stanford Morgan, president and owner of Homes for Sale by Owner, Inc., must also pay full restitution, including $200,000 to an investing couple in one transaction and compensation to the lending institutions he defrauded in other transactions. Morgan was prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.
From June 2003 through March 2004, Morgan, 44, orchestrated a series of bogus mortgage transactions in Lake and Seminole Counties. Acting with co-conspirators Nancy Mahan, 71, and William Ball, 66, Morgan recruited straw buyers to purchase homes, taking advantage of their high credit scores to obtain “no-document” loans. The sellers and buyers were shown one set of documents with the actual sale price of the home, but Morgan arranged to have a different set of documents sent to the mortgage lending institutions indicating a much higher sale price. Morgan pocketed the difference.
Morgan promised to handle all of the payments for the homes and assured the buyers that they would see a profit when the homes increased in value. The buyers weren’t aware that the homes had been burdened with mortgages far in excess of their value. In the 12 sales transactions that were part of the prosecution’s case, Morgan diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars to himself, leaving the buyers stuck with the overpriced mortgage payments.
Morgan’s prison sentence was handed down by Lake County Circuit Judge Mark J. Hill. Co-defendant Nancy Mahan, convicted of conspiracy to commit racketeering, and co-defendant William Ball, convicted of grand theft, are both serving probationary sentences for their involvement in the scheme. The case was investigated by the Office of Financial Regulation. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Financial Services Divisions of Insurance Fraud and Agents and Agency Services assisted in the investigation.
The Office of Financial Regulation offered the following tips for consumers to identify potential fraud and avoid becoming a victim:
- Do your research – check to see who regulates the profession and if the person approaching you is required to have a professional license. Also check the status of the license
- Don’t allow others to use your identity to purchase homes or enter into any business agreements in your name. If you allow other to use your identity, you may find yourself liable for any transactions and/or debts accumulated in your name.
- Consider consulting with an independent attorney or talk to someone knowledgeable whom you trust.
- Immediately get help if you feel you have been victimized. Contact the Office of Financial Regulation at 1-800-848-3792 or your local Better Business Bureau to report the individuals and companies you worked with.