Monday, March 23, 2009

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East Texas Woman Sentenced to 99 Years In Prison For Mortgage Fraud

CORSICANA A Henderson County woman was today sentenced to 99 years in prison for her role in a mortgage fraud scheme. On Tuesday, a Navarro County jury found the defendant, Kandace Yancy Marriott, 52, of Gun Barrel City, guilty of engaging in organized criminal activity. According to prosecutors, evidence presented at the punishment stage showed Marriott received monthly mortgage payments from her clients, failed to remit those payments to the mortgage lender, embezzled the homeowners’ funds, and therefore caused her clients to default on their home loans.

Marriott’s conviction stems from her involvement in a complex mortgage fraud scheme that defrauded the federal government. The scheme’s principal operators were the defendant and her husband, Darrell L. Marriott, 54, who sold manufactured homes through their company, One Way Home & Land. However, the defendants’ daughter, Kally Marriott, and Kandace Marriott’s sister, Karen Hayes, have also been indicted for their role in the scheme. All four defendants face separate charges for related criminal conduct in Kaufman County.

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Kandace Marriott

According to state investigators, the defendants illegally forged home buyers’ signatures, inaccurately completed loan applications, and falsified supporting documents, including the buyers’ rent payment verification statements, proof of employment, and Social Security Administration benefits data, among other items. Court documents filed by the state indicate that the defendants conduct was intended to ensure that unqualified home buyers loans were approved by mortgage lenders.

The scheme involved predominantly low-income purchasers whose residential loans were guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. As a result, when the unqualified buyers defaulted on their home loans, their mortgage lenders did not suffer financial losses. Instead, HUD and therefore the taxpayers had to cover the default costs. Investigators believe the defendants’ scheme cost the taxpayers more than $3 million.

The defendants closed the One Way Home & Land after litigation and investigations ensued in late 2005. As a result, they opened a Kaufman County firm under the assumed name, Torenia. Additional criminal charges in Kaufman County stem from the defendants’ Torenia operation.

The Office of the Attorney General received assistance from the Navarro County Criminal District Attorney’s Office, Corsicana Police Department and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of Inspector General. Attorney General Abbott’s Criminal Prosecutions Division is leading the prosecution of the four defendants with the cooperation of district attorneys’ offices in Navarro, Henderson and Ellis counties.

For more information on Attorney General Abbott’s efforts to crack down on mortgage fraud, contact the Office of the Attorney General at (800) 252-8011 or visit the agency’s Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.