Lansing Man Sentenced In Federal Mortgage Fraud Probe
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles announced today that Sam Ames, 33, of Charlotte, Michigan was sentenced to eight months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud in connection with his dealings with CDC Investments and Hometown Financial. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $7,500 and restitution in the amount of $285,000 to the financial institutions defrauded. The sentence was imposed by Chief U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker.
On March 15, 2016, Ames pled guilty to conspiring with others to commit bank fraud in connection with real estate in and around Lansing, Michigan, from in or about 2006 to 2007. The conspiracy, which resulted in losses to mortgage lenders exceeding $550,000, enabled the perpetrators to use bank funds to enrich themselves as a result of sham real estate transactions.
Judge Jonker decided to sentence Ames below the recommended range of 30-37 months because he felt Ames had turned his life around since committing his crimes. But the Judge rebuffed a defense request for a probationary sentence. While the Judge declared himself persuaded that Ames was a different person than the one who defrauded banks and mortgage companies, the Judge stated that it was important for the public to see that a prison term awaits anyone who engages in mortgage fraud as rampant as the Ames conspiracy was.
Ames’s prosecution is the result of a continuing investigation by the Mortgage Fraud Task Force, comprised of federal investigators including the FBI, U.S. Secret Service, the U. S. Postal Inspection Service and the HUD Office of Inspector General. The task force also includes the Lansing Police Department, investigators employed by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office and other state agencies. To date, eighteen individuals have been convicted of mortgage fraud as part of this effort, resulting in prison sentences for all the defendants and restitution orders exceeding $14,000,000.
U.S. Attorney Miles praised the cooperation between federal, state and local investigators participating in the Mortgage Fraud Task Force. The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy VerHey.