A Blue Springs real estate agent will spend three years in federal prison for her role in an $11 million mortgage fraud scheme.
A federal judge Wednesday sentenced Leann R. Turner, 44, of Blue Springs, to three years in prison without parole and ordered her to pay more than $4.9 million in restitution. Another former Blue Springs real estate agent was sentenced to probation, and three others were also sentenced Wednesday for their roles in the same scheme, which included nine defendants.
Turner pleaded guilty in May 2012 to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of money laundering in the case, which was investigated by the FBI and the IRS Criminal Investigation division.
Carole L. Colson, 71, of Lake Worth, Fla., who formerly ran Carole Colson Real Estate in Blue Springs, was sentenced to five years of probation, which includes six months of house arrest and 120 hours of community service, and was ordered to pay nearly $2.29 million in restitution.
According to court records, the defendants participated in a mortgage fraud conspiracy from early 2005 to August 2006. Lenders made more than $11 million in loans on 16 residential properties in Blue Springs, Independence, Oak Grove, Lee’s Summit, Liberty and Parkville. From that amount, buyers allegedly received more than $2 million from the loan proceeds in illegal kickbacks. The scheme also resulted in a financial loss of nearly $5 million to mortgage lenders.
Turner served as a real estate agent working for a series of real estate companies during the conspiracy. She served as the real estate agent in 15 of the 16 transactions and received commissions and some hidden payments and assets in exchange for listing the homes and selling them at inflated prices.
Turner and Colson listed the houses, sought buyers and sold them at inflated prices. Turner and Colson made misrepresentations and omissions of facts to mortgage lenders to obtain the loans. Home buyers then created false businesses that issued invoices that claimed they had provided work or services in exchange for loan funds, and received a $100,000 kickback for each purchase.
Also sentenced Wednesday were Bruce Q. Williams, 44, of Kansas City, Kan.; Anthony E. Hicks, 42, of Little Rock, Ark.; and Linda Joyce Henry Johnson, 65, of Corona, Calif. Williams will spend 1 year and 1 day in prison and must repay more than $3.4 million. Hicks got 10 months and must repay $953,958, and Johnson got five years probation with six months of house arrest and must pay back $228,744.
James A. Nash, 44, and Arman Nshanian, 38, both of Corona, Calif., and both deputies of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, were convicted at a trial in December 2013 and await sentencing. Nash fraudulently purchased two homes in Blue Springs and received $100,000 for each. Nshanian fraudulently purchased a home in Lee’s Summit and received $100,000 for it.
Mark P. Bailey, 40, of Buena Park, Calif., pleaded guilty and was sentenced in 2011 to 33 months in prison and ordered to pay back $701,450. Zelda Ann Jackson, 41, of Newbury Park, Calif., pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 28.