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August 29, 2005

A record-long white-collar sentence in Atlanta

A helpful reader sent me this article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporting on the imposition last week of what "federal authorities are calling the longest sentence ever handed down for mortgage fraud in the nation."  The defendant, Chalana McFarland, received a 30-year federal sentence for her role in skimming "more than $20 million in inflated mortgages on more than 100 homes throughout metro Atlanta."  Here are more details from the news article:

McFarland's mortgage fraud ring operated from mid-1999 through late 2002, preying on banks and other mortgage lenders.  All 19 of McFarland's co-defendants plead guilty and all but two testified when she was convicted in February.  McFarland's gang stole identities and falsified Social Security numbers, employment and income documents to qualify for loans....  McFarland was convicted [at trial] on 170 counts including conspiracy, bank fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, identity theft, fraudulent use of Social Security numbers, money laundering, obstruction of justice and perjury.

McFarland denied any role in the crimes at Wednesday's sentencing and told U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Thrash Jr. that she was an inexperienced lawyer who was duped by her more experienced co-defendants. The judge chided McFarland for her lack of remorse for the loss and distress her schemes caused her victims and thousands of homeowners whose neighborhoods were harmed.  "Mortgage fraud is not a victimless crime. . . . Whole neighborhoods are affected," Thrash said before sentencing McFarland to 30 years in prison followed by five years supervised release. Thrash also ordered McFarland to repay $11,588,465.45 lost by companies and individuals.

"This is the longest sentence ever obtained in a mortgage fraud case," [U.S. Attorney David] Nahmias said after McFarland's hearing Wednesday.  "It's certainly an enormously long sentence for a first-time, white-collar crime defendant."

UPDATE: Peter Henning over at the White Collar Crime Prof Blog has this post discussing McFarland's sentence, and he also helpfully links to this press release from DOJ on the case.

August 29, 2005 at 12:44 PM | Permalink


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Wow, This is crazy. You can get 5 years for manslaughter. I'm not advocating any crimes, but it sickening me how the people who were involved in the WTC bombing (conspiracy) {Look at the 911.org}, got away with murder and the Bush administration is protecting them. I admit, I do not have any proof, but certainly, there are questions.

Posted by: A | Aug 29, 2005 3:08:34 PM

How is this justice? What does equal sentencing under the law really mean?
a family member

Posted by: LaTonya | Oct 12, 2005 12:41:18 AM

Child's play compared to the State of Florida vs Daniel Strader case. In '94 or '95 he was sentenced to 45 yrs for securities violations, fraud and racketeering charges . The total amount involved was $2.3 million and he was a first time offender. Still in prison and no parole hearing to date.

Posted by: Mark | Feb 27, 2007 12:32:03 AM

This is how life is in the unfair world of the federal government, I'm currently awaiting trail in a mortgage fraud case. The government is so upset at mortgage fraud that they cast out a net and swipe up as many fish as they can one at a time and throw you out one at a time. They stack up as many charges as possible to put you in the guidlines of life in prison. I'm 24 years old now, when the government claim I masterminded a 19 million dollar mortgage fraud scheme I was 21 and everybody in my case is over the age of 30 except for me. I wasin the wrong place at the write time for the government. My indictment involves 12 homes, my indictment has 99 counts. Mcfarland had 100 homes in her case with only 170 counts. YOU DO THE MATH! The reason for this is because the more charges means more money the government can try to stick you with if your convicted at sentencing. If I'm convicted the guide lines put me at 41 years in prison. That's scary for anyone, but I'm an innocent man caught in the coss fire and I'm going to trail.

Posted by: Greg | Mar 15, 2007 7:48:18 PM

yeah!! this article had regret justice to the law.

Posted by: realestateglendaleca | May 8, 2007 11:33:19 PM

The museum is situated in the house where Auguste Escoffier was born in 1846, with each room preserving many of the appliances,

Posted by: Juno888 | May 11, 2007 4:13:30 AM

Our organization is a non-profit 501(c)(3) and is the only one of its kind in the nation that reconstructs real esate transactions for possible traces of real estate fraud. Our efforts have led our organization to work with industry professionals, law enforcement and the DOJ. While from the surface this case may seem unwarranted in sentencing we disagree. Any time a financial lending institution that is regulated by the FDIC, OCC or OTS is financially harmed Title 18 comes into play.

Far too often criminal enterprises and their co-conspirators are given lenient sentencing that does little in deterring current and future white collar criminals from participating in such schemes where real estate serves as the catalyst.

Until sentencing guidelines become strengthened we shall continue to witness housing markets where increased foreclosures, bankruptcies or both take place.

Mr. Berman thank you for presenting such a forum where such views can be heard and discussed.


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