Six men convicted of conspiring to defraud area residents who borrowed more than $10 million in mortgage loans at annual interest rates of up to 45 percent from a now-defunct Alexandria company have been sentenced to prison terms, including one of nine years for the firm's president.
Judge Stanley M. Harris, who imposed the sentences during the last two days in U.S. District Court here, said he believed that all of the men should be incarcerated for their roles in the mortgage fraud scheme.
Prosecutors argued that the scheme deprived borrowers of their normal rights under the truth-in-lending law because they were persuaded to affirm that the loans were for business purposes; such loans are not covered by the act.
Charges against the six men, the mortgage company and a title firm that participated in the transactions were brought by the Justice Department as part of what a department lawyer said is a continuing investigation into mortgage fraud in the area.
The longest sentence was imposed on Norman C. Tillette, 65, of Herndon, who was president of Nationwide Mortgage Co. His nine-year term is to begin after he completes serving a one-year term he began in April after he was convicted on similar charges in federal court in Alexandria.
Mark Rasch, the Justice Department attorney who handled the case, said Tillette will have to serve a total of four to seven years before he is eligible for parole.
Tillette was also convicted on 13 counts of interstate transportation in furtherance of fraud.
According to the indictment, the six men and two firms sought out prospective borrowers in the Washington area from 1980 to 1983 and promised them easy financing for loans.
The loans usually carried interest-only payments for the first year with a balloon payment at the end of the year for the entire amount of the principal. But the borrowers were told not to worry about the payment schedule because the loans would be automatically converted to loans that could be repaid over a number of years.
The long-term financing never materialized, and many of the borrowers lost their houses.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, each of the defendants was convicted on two to 13 counts of interstate transportation to aid the fraud scheme. Also sentenced were:Augustine Barquin, 45, 637 Broad Creek Dr., Fort Washington, who must serve at least one year of his one-to-three-year term before he is eligible for parole. Charles L. Clay, White Plains, Md., who must serve two years of his two-to-six-year term. Irving Millar, 64, 3410 Willow Treet La., Falls Church, who must serve six months in a community treatment center. The remainder of the one-to-three-year term was suspended. C. Jimmie Vaccaro Jr., 60, 450 Birch Ct., Waldorf, who must serve at least one year of his one-to-three-year term. Vaccaro was president of the title company and served as the attorney at many of the closings. Roland T. Butler, 39, 1212 Waterford Dr., District Heights, who must serve at least two years of his two-to-six-year term. He was sentenced on July 7.
The two firms, Nationwide Mortgage and Southeast Title Corp. of Temple Hills, also now out of business, were fined $1,000, and payment of the fine was suspended.
Daisy Mae Hopkins, 37, of Landover pleaded guilty to conspiracy in March and testified for the government. She was given a two-year suspended sentence and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.