Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Two Augusta Businessmen Sentenced to Federal Prison for Mortgage Fraud Scheme

Robert J. DeMello Jr., 49, formerly of Augusta, Georgia, and Raymond W. Turner, 70, of Hephizibah, Georgia, were sentenced yesterday by United States District Court Judge J. Randal Hall to 58 and 62 months’ imprisonment, respectively, based on their earlier guilty pleas to count two of an indictment that charged them with defrauding Southern Bank, in Waynesboro, Georgia, and other financial institutions of thousands of dollars by submitting false information and fraudulent appraisals relating to mortgage loan applications. Evidence presented at hearings in this case showed that multiple properties in this fraudulent scheme, some of which are located in downtown Augusta, went into foreclosure, resulting in significant losses to Southern Bank.

United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said, “Georgia has consistently been ranked as one of the top 10 states in the country for mortgage fraud. Yesterday’s sentences should clearly show that the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia will pursue stiff prison sentences for those whose greed or arrogance leads them to threaten our country’s financial system through mortgage fraud.”

In addition to their prison sentences, DeMello and Turner were ordered to pay restitution, as well as serve five years of supervised release after they are released from prison. Regarding the length of the prison sentences, Tarver noted that there is no parole in the federal system.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Stephen T. Inman (now working at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of North Carolina), and David M. Stewart prosecuted the case. For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.

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