Former Springfield, Illinois attorney Mark K. Vincent was sentenced to a term of 46 months imprisonment, as announced by Jan Paul Miller, United States Attorney for the Central District of Illinois. Senior U.S. District Judge Richard Mills also ordered that Vincent pay restitution in the amount of $684,475.97 to victims of his fraud. Judge Mills allowed Vincent 60 days to self-report to the federal Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his prison sentence. Upon release from prison, Vincent was ordered to serve five years supervised release.
In December 2002, a federal jury convicted Vincent, age 49, of Springfield, Illinois, of four counts of wire fraud; two counts of mail fraud; and two counts of making false statements to obtain loans related to his operation of a title insurance company.
Evidence presented at trial showed that from 1996 to August 1999, Vincent defrauded clients and Attorney Title Guaranty Fund, Inc., of more than $600,000 when he converted funds entrusted to him and his title insurance company to complete real estate transactions to pay for his personal and business expenses. Such expenses included membership in a country club, a luxury automobile, child day care, a student loan payment and a $500 monthly payment to a family member.
As part of the scheme, and to conceal it from others, Vincent repeatedly covered the costs of real estate closings with money that had been entrusted to him and his firm for other purposes and other closings. When his trust accounts were depleted, overdrawn and out of balance, he created false documents and excuses to deceive his employees, clients, Attorney Title Guaranty Fund and others to make them believe the accounts were fully funded.
In October 1998, Vincent promised a representative of Attorney Title Guaranty Fund that he would close his title company’s existing trust account and open a new one so that the account could be reconciled and to confirm that funds were used for specific closings as intended. While Vincent opened a new account for his title company, he failed to close the old trust account, and in February 1999, created a false bank statement and submitted it to the treasurer of Attorney Title Guaranty Fund.