Anthony G. Symmes, 61, Paradise, California, was sentenced by United States District Judge Edward J. Garcia to two years and 11 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release for conspiring to commit fraud and for one count of money laundering in connection with a builder bailout scheme. Symmes was also ordered to forfeit $4 million dollars.
According to court documents, from 2006 through 2008, Symmes sold 62 homes to straw buyers recruited by Garret G. Gililland III, and others. The purchase price on each home was inflated by up to $60,000. One day after the close of escrow on each property, Symmes would write a check back to the front companies controlled by Gililland and others. The rebates on the purchase price were not disclosed to the lenders who financed the properties for the straw buyers.
Judge Garcia, in sentencing the defendant, said that he weighed the defendant’s substantial assistance to the government against the scope of his fraud, which spanned over two years and involved millions of dollars.
As previously reported by Mortgage Fraud Blog, co-defendants Garret G. Gililland III, Shane Burreson, William Baker, Niche S. Fortune, and others, have pleaded guilty to participating in the same scheme. Fortune’s sister, Kesha Danine Fortune Haynie, 41, Chico, a loan broker who processed a number of the fraudulent loans, was convicted of mail fraud on March 28, 2012, after a six-day jury trial. Symmes testified at that trial.
United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner and Butte County District Attorney Michael Ramsey announced the sentence.
This case was the product of an extensive investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and the Butte County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Russell L. Carlberg S. Robert Tice-Raskin prosecuted the case.