Thursday, March 1, 2012

Granite State Scam Peddler Saves Butt With 'Squeal Deal'; Gets 6 Months House Arrest, Leaving Victimized Homeowners To Pocket $0 Restitution

In Nashua, New Hampshire, the Nashua Telegraph reports:

  • When Tony DiSessa says “unbelievable,” he doesn’t sound all that disbelieving. Prosecutors say DiSessa is one of dozens of New Hampshire homeowners – or former owners – who were duped by a conspiracy that purported to save their homes but actually stripped their homes of equity and saddled the homes in thousands of dollars in extra debt.

  • One of the three people who have pleaded guilty to taking part in the scheme, Richard Winefield, was sentenced to probation and restitution in federal court recently.

  • That was my kids’ home. They grew up there,” DiSessa said of his former home at 22 Apple Blossom Drive in Londonderry. “Basically, it makes me want to cry. It’s pretty pathetic.”

  • Winefield, a licensed real estate agent, pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting in mail fraud in U.S. District Court and, after several delays, was sentenced to three years of probation and six months of house arrest, and ordered to pay restitution, according to court documents.

  • He is still allowed to work in real estate with approval from his probation officer, according to the terms of his supervision.

  • Two other people – Walter Bressler and Sadie Stanhope Ng – have also pleaded guilty and are scheduled to be sentenced in April, according to court documents.

  • Winefield was part of a long-running criminal conspiracy whose members defrauded lenders and homeowners across New Hampshire, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Gunnison told Judge Steven Mc-Auliffe. Winefield joined the scheme, already in progress, in 2006, Gunnison said.

  • Winefield has since cooperated with investigators, which was a factor in his sentence, Gunnison said.(1)

  • The scam targeted a number of homeowners in addition to DiSessa. “The prospective investigation focuses on more than 50 transactions involving New Hampshire homeowners,” Gunnison said. That isn’t much solace to DiSessa, who moved his family into a condominium in Londonderry after losing his home in 2007.

  • I feel like the homeowners who were trying to save their homes totally got screwed,” he said. “I blame the federal government for not looking out and trying to help the homeowners.”

  • Homeowners won’t see any of the $407,500 in restitution Winefield was ordered to pay. That money will be paid to Citibank, First Franklin Division of National City Bank and Fannie Mae, according to court documents. Bressler and Ng are also liable for that amount, according to the documents. If Winefield had to pay the restitution himself, at the court-ordered amount of $300 a month, it would take about 113 years to pay off.

  • I’ll never recover from this, financially or emotionally,” DiSessa said. “My credit rating is just through the floor.”

For more, see Conspiracy duped homeowners, stripping equity and saddling them with debt.

Go here for the court documents on Richard Winefield's sentencing.

(1) "When a conspiracy is exposed by an arrest or execution of search warrants, soon-to-be defendants know that the first one to "belly up" and tell what he knows receives the best deal. The pressure is to bargain and bargain early, even if an indictment has not been filed." United States v. Moody, 206 F.3d 609, 617 (6th Cir. 2000) (Wiseman, J., concurring) (referring to the not-uncommon 'race to the prosecutor's office' that breaks out among participants in an 'about-to-fall-apart' criminal conspiracy).

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