Man Gets 57 Months in Prison for Homebuilder Kickback Scheme

Allison Tussey —  April 2, 2012 — Leave a comment

Niche Savon Fortune, 39, Chico, California, was sentenced by United States District Judge Edward J. Garcia to four years and nine months in prison, to be followed by three years supervised release for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme centered in Chico, California, in 2007. Fortune‘s sister, Kesha Danine Fortune Haynie, 41, Chico, was convicted of the same crimes on March 28, 2012, after a six-day jury trial before Judge Garcia. Both defendants are in custody.

According to court documents, Fortune, Haynie and others promised kickbacks to homebuyers from a Chico homebuilder in exchange for purchasing homes. The day after the close of escrow, the homebuilder would write checks averaging $41,000 to Fortune‘s front company, Fortune Property Investments. Fortune, Haynie and others would then pay the buyers up to $29,000 of the kickbacks and divide the remainder among themselves. The kickbacks were not disclosed to lenders, escrow officers, or home appraisers. The conspirators also participated in submitting false documents to mortgage lenders in order to obtain the loans.

A restitution hearing to determine the amount to be repaid to victims of the crime will be held on May 18, 2012.

United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced the sentence.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and the Butte County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Russell L. Carlberg and S. Robert Tice-Raskin prosecuted the case.

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Allison Tussey

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