Former mortgage lawyer sentenced for massive fraud

by Ryan Smith10 Feb 2014
When your own attorney compares you to Gordon Gekko in court filings, it’s probably not a good sign.

Former Pennsylvania mortgage attorney Lisa Gerideau-Williams found out how bad a sign it was when she was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for wide-ranging mortgage scams that defrauded everyone from lenders and title insurers to her own aunt, according to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report.

In pre-sentencing filings, defense attorney Warner Mariani compared his client to the amoral protagonist of Wall Street, stating that Gekko had lived for money before prison, but (spoiler alert) had reformed by the end of the sequel. The comparison apparently didn’t impress U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon, who called the scope of Gerideau-Williams’ fraud “breathtaking,” according to the Post-Gazette.

“Every piece of paper we turned over revealed another fraud scheme she was involved in,” said U.S. Attorney Brendan Conway.

Between 2005 and 2008, Gerideau-Williams submitted fraudulent mortgage applications to lenders – including several using the personal information of her elderly aunt, Barbara Hatter, the Post-Gazette reported. Hatter’s credit was ruined by the subsequent unpaid debts. Gerideau-Williams also took money to file title changes and then failed to file them.

When one of her clients had trouble making mortgage payments, Gerideau-Williams said she could accept the payments and take care of the loan, the Post-Gazette reported. Instead, she spent the payments and filed an unauthorized bankruptcy without informing the client.
Gerideau-Williams pleaded guilty last year to 16 counts of wire fraud and failure to file tax returns. However, she failed to appear for her October sentencing and was arrested. She has been in jail since then, according to the Post-Gazette. She has also been disbarred for her crimes.

Gerideau-Williams asked for leniency, but Bissoon said a “slap on the wrist would send a dangerous message to those tempted to follow in her footsteps,” the Post-Gazette reported.

In addition to her prison term, Gerideau-Williams was ordered to pay more than $932,000 in restitution.


  • by Lee in CA | 2/10/2014 2:47:12 PM

    What kind of desparation causes an attorney (or anyone else for that matter) to collect small fees to "file" and then not actually do the filing... or on a larger scale, defraud a client of mortgage payments, cause a default, and then file bankruptcy on behalf of the client without the client's consent. Either she is inherently evil (amoral) or she was paying for a bad drug habit. This one is really hard to understand, but I am glad that she is "off the streets".

  • by Dee | 2/19/2014 3:06:54 PM

    I know of this family. They live in a upscale house. Our kids go to the same school. I just remember her looking down on me because I didn't suit their high materialistic standards. Now I know how her and her husband was able to afford all those big cars and hug house.


Should CFPB have more supervision over credit agencies?