From North Texas:
A Henderson County woman was today sentenced to 99 years in prison for her role in a mortgage fraud scheme. On Tuesday, a Navarro County jury found the defendant, Kandace Yancy Marriott, 52, of Gun Barrel City, guilty of engaging in organized criminal activity. According to prosecutors, evidence presented at the punishment stage showed Marriott received monthly mortgage payments from her clients, failed to remit those payments to the mortgage lender, embezzled the homeowners’ funds, and therefore caused her clients to default on their home loans. Marriott’s conviction stems from her involvement in a complex mortgage fraud scheme that defrauded the federal government. The scheme’s principal operators were the defendant and her husband, Darrell L. Marriott, 54, who sold manufactured homes through their company, One Way Home & Land. However, the defendants’ daughter, Kally Marriott, and Kandace Marriott’s sister, Karen Hayes, have also been indicted for their role in the scheme. All four defendants face separate charges for related criminal conduct in Kaufman County.
According to state investigators, the defendants illegally forged home buyers’ signatures, inaccurately completed loan applications, and falsified supporting documents, including the buyers’ rent payment verification statements, proof of employment, and Social Security Administration benefits data, among other items. Court documents filed by the state indicate that the defendants conduct was intended to ensure that unqualified home buyers loans were approved by mortgage lenders. The scheme involved predominantly low-income purchasers whose residential loans were guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. As a result, when the unqualified buyers defaulted on their home loans, their mortgage lenders did not suffer financial losses. Instead, HUD – and therefore the taxpayers – had to cover the default costs. Investigators believe the defendants’ scheme cost the taxpayers more than $3 million.
Is 99 years too tough? Some argue about the unfairness of the folks from Enron receiving a lighter sentence for stealing billions while this mom gets 99 years for stealing 3 million. Well, some of those Enron defendants decided to become a witness against others in order to receive a lighter sentence. But we can’t quite compare Mortgage Fraud Mom with Andrew Fastow because I believe a person cannot testify against a relative. Perhaps the horrifying lesson is to always commit fraud with a non-relative.
There will be no public sympathy for what this family has done as long as the economy resembles a slow moving train wreck. It may take years for some humans to ever begin to trust mortgage lenders (banker, broker, or consumer loan company) again.
This is just one case of a mortgage fraud family. How many more are out there that we haven’t even begun to prosecute or may never find?
On the bright side, perhaps she will still be able to see her sister and daughter when they join her in the same prison.
Even better, maybe 99 year sentences would have the effect of actually deterring mortgage fraud. The existing set of consequences were clearly not enough.