Husband, wife sentenced for decade-long scam

by Ryan Smith30 Jan 2014
A New York couple has been sentenced to federal prison for operating a decade-long, multimillion-dollar mortgage scam.

Winston Shillingford, 56, and his wife Marleen Shillingford, 47, were sentenced to 48 months and 36 months, respectively, for their roles in a scheme that involved more than 40 Connecticut properties. Both will serve three years of supervised release after their prison sentences, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors say that the Shillingfords were involved in the operation of a real estate company called Waikele Properties Corp., which maintained offices in Bridgeport, Conn., and Garden City, N.Y. between 2001 and 2011, the Shillingfords and other co-conspirators fraudulently obtained mortgages to buy more than 40 multifamily properties in Bridgeport.

The conspirators recruited straw buyers to purchase the properties, acted as the buyers’ real estate agents and prepared fraudulent loan applications to obtain mortgages. They also provided false supporting documentation, including letters from fictitious employers, phony earnings statements and falsified bank records.

When the loans were approved, the proceeds were wired into the Waikele Properties bank account, from which they were transferred to the conspirators. Some of the proceeds were also used to finance the ongoing fraud, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors estimate that the fraud cost financial institutions between $2.5 million and $7 million. An order for restitution will be issued against the Shillingfords after further court proceedings, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.


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