Benjamin L. Freedlander, a mortgage banker from Richmond, was sentenced in federal court there yesterday to one year and a day in prison for participating in a scheme that bilked the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and other investors out of more than $200 million.
Freedlander, 33, had pleaded guilty in November to bank and mail fraud charges stemming from a two-year federal investigation into the Richmond-based Freedlander Inc. The company had been the nation's fourth-largest second-mortgage lender, with offices in 33 states, before it filed for bankruptcy protection in 1988.
Freedlander's mother, 64-year-old Eve A. Freedlander, has also pleaded guilty and has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for defrauding investors such as Dominion National Bank of Richmond and First Jersey Savings and Loan Association of Wyckoff, N.J.
The scheme began in the early 1980s when Freedlander Inc. issued scores of loans to individuals who were having trouble obtaining loans elsewhere, according to the U.S. Attorney's office, which investigated the case with the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service and the Henrico County Commonwealth's Attorney office.
When borrowers failed to make payments, Freedlander hid the delinquency rates, packaged the loans in portfolios and sold them to investors such as Fannie Mae, according to court papers. Officials at Fannie Mae estimated that they would lose about $20 million from their dealings with Freedlander.
U.S. District Judge Richard L. Williams, in handing down the sentence yesterday, said Benjamin Freedlander had acted at his parents' direction, received relatively little compensation and had minimal control over company policy.
U.S. Attorney Henry E. Hudson said yesterday that Benjamin Freedlander was in charge of the computer data banks that were used to hide the poor performance of the borrowers.