Three Columbia Area Residents Sentenced in FHA Mortgage Fraud Conspiracy
Contact Person: John Potterfield (803) 929-3000
Columbia, South Carolina ---- Acting United States Attorney Beth Drake stated today that Robert J. Sellers Jr., age 62, of Columbia, Marlyn Hammett, age 68 of West Columbia, and Amy Wilson, age 51 of Swansea, were sentenced yesterday in federal court in Columbia, for conspiracy to commit loan application fraud, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. United States District Judge Margaret B. Seymour of Columbia sentenced Sellers to 12 months and one day imprisonment, 3 years supervised release and ordered him to pay $702,314.47 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Hammett was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment, 3 years supervised release, and ordered to pay $702,314.47 in restitution to HUD/FHA. Wilson was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment, 3 years supervised release and ordered to pay $144,640 in restitution to HUD/FHA.
Evidence presented at their change of plea hearings established that Sellers Jr., Hammett and Wilson conspired to defraud lending institutions and HUD/FHA by falsifying documents of FHA loan applicants and fraudulently providing the FHA required 3.5% down payment funds for buyers of their properties. The conspirators concealed the origin of the down payment funds and caused false statements on loan applications and other documents to be filed, resulting in dozens of foreclosures.
The case was investigated by agents of The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General and the United States Postal Inspection Service. Assistant United States Attorney John Potterfield of the Columbia office prosecuted the case.