Stacy Harrold, 43, was sentenced to 75 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,000 to a California man whose identity they stole as part of the scheme and pay a fine of $10,000. David Schoenhofen, 43, was sentenced to 54 months in prison and was to forfeit a rental home he owned in Edina to the county attorney’s office. The house has a value of about $250,000. The final member of the group who was found guilty of criminal racketing in the mortgage fraud case, Eric Bernard, will be sentenced Nov. 1, 2011. Prosecutors are seeking a 150 month prison sentence.
Nonetheless, Hennepin County District Court Judge George McGunnigle has sentenced them to substantial prison terms. McGunnigle also approved an unusual request from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office that one of them forfeit property.
Bernard and Schoenhofen would identify properties to buy. Then Harrold, through her work as a loan officer at Enzo Mortgage, would create fraudulent documents and set up the sales to Bernard or to two California residents whose identities they had stolen.
At the closing, the three would share in fees, kickbacks of loan proceeds and payments to Bernard’s Cire Builders for work that was never done on the houses. Since there were no real buyers of the properties, most of them went into foreclosure, causing losses for the lenders.
While Harrold told the court she was “extremely sorry for any involvement I had in this situation,” she also appeared not to grasp the impact her actions, and those of others involved in mortgage crimes around the country, had on hard-working Americans.
She told McGunnigle that she was concerned about the fine because “I haven’t been able to be employed because of this and because of the mortgage downfall,” which was making it difficult for her and her husband to sell or refinance their house.
For his part, Schoenhofen‘s sentencing included rolling in the crimes that resulted from a search of his Prior Lake house. In a safe, investigators found 70 grams of marijuana, $3,400 in cash and a handgun. Schoenhofen said the gun was for protection when he collected rents from some of his rental properties and many tenants paid in cash.
Schoenhofen, too, showed only a small amount of remorse. When his attorney described Schoenhofen‘s actions as “poor judgment,” McGunnigle would have none of it.
“This was not an accident,” McGunnigle said. “This was not an error in judgment. This was a serious crime.”