SHREVEPORT/BOSSIER REAL ESTATE AGENTS SENTENCED FOR PREDATORY HOME SALE PRACTICES
SHREVEPORT, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that Scott Rister, 43, of Shreveport, and William Clay Goodwin, 43, of Bossier City, were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote, to serve six months in prison and two years of supervised release for mail fraud. The judge also ordered them to pay $8,150 in restitution to victims of the scheme.
According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, Rister and Goodwin worked together to arrange short sales of residential real estate in the Shreveport/Bossier area. They identified residential property owners whose homes were scheduled for foreclosure or in bankruptcy. Rister offered to arrange short sales for their homes and informed them that Goodwin would attempt to negotiate with the financial institution that held the mortgage to settle the outstanding mortgage. Rister also told the home owners that the home owners would not see a profit from the short sales, and added that Rister and Goodwin’s only compensation was a broker’s commission, which was typically 5 to 6 percent of the sales price. However, Rister and Goodwin included fees and liens on the HUD-1 settlement statements without the home owners’ knowledge, permission or consent. The fees and liens were listed in favor of LLCs created and owned by Rister and Goodwin.
“The defendants took advantage of those who were caught in tough financial situations,” Finley said. “They used their knowledge of the real estate industry to add extra costs without informing the customers involved of the charges. We hope this serves as a reminder to those who would exploit home owners that our office will continue to prosecute cases such as this to the fullest extent of the law.”
Rister pleaded guilty to the mail fraud count Oct. 30, 2012, and Goodwin pleaded guilty Jan. 15, 2013.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl M. Campbell prosecuted the case.