Broker gets prison term as judge wishes for bigger fish to spear

by Adam Smith04 Sep 2013

An Oregon judge has lamented  that "bigger fish" have yet to be brought to justice for the housing meltdown, while sentencing a mortgage broker to nearly five years in prison.

The Register-Guard has reported that Bend, Ore., mortgage broker Peter Wilkinson was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to bank fraud and conspiracy to commit loan application fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud. The case involved more than 50 loans using false income statements, straw borrowers, falsified bank accounts and hidden liabilities to secure financing, the Register-Guard said.

In handing down her sentence, U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken called Wilkinson a "master manipulator", but conceded that lenders also deserved to be held accountable for the financial meltdown.

“I think all of us wish there were bigger fish in the courtroom today to accept responsibility. They’re not here. Maybe someday they will be,” Aiken said.

The case has seen six others who also allegedly took part in the scheme plead guilty to similar charges. The government will seek prison terms for all six, and restitution totalling more than $15.5m, the Register-Guard said. Wilkinson alone will be on the hook for nearly $10m.

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