Lilburn attorney sentenced for fraud conspiracy

ATLANTA -- A federal judge sentenced a group of mortgage fraud conspirators that included a Lilburn attorney to prison this week in connection with a scheme targeting the elderly.

Sentences meted out by U.S. District Court Judge Julie Carnes ranged from 12 years to probation on multiple charges stemming from the "reverse mortgage" scheme.

Those sentenced include Lilburn resident James Michael Green, 44, Kelsey Hull, 39, Jonathan Kimpson, 28, both of Lithonia, and Herbert Bush, 31, Wilbur Letak, 44, and Kevin Barnett, 28, all of Atlanta. The defendants pleaded guilty in separate hearings between June 2010 and August 2011.

Green was sentenced to three years in federal prison. Other sentences ranged from 12 years in prison for Hall to five years probation for Barnett.

For his part, Green, the closing attorney for many of the fraudulent reverse mortgage loans, admitted he knowingly accepted senior down payments from Hull and Kimpson, and returned the funds to them along with reverse proceeds, federal authorities said.

Green also admitted that he allowed codefendants to buy homes at greatly discounted amounts through "short sales," and then resell the same properties to seniors at amounts up to 16 times the true acquisition costs, authorities said.

So-called "reverse" mortgages in HUD's Home Equity Conversion Program were designed to assist with the financial security of seniors, ages 62 or older.

Reverse mortgages fall under two types:

In one, the senior homeowner receives money from the lender for a portion of the equity in the home they own. With the other, the senior receives money from the lender toward the purchase of a new home.

"(The program) was designed to enable seniors to buy a home or to stay in a home at a time in their lives when it may be very difficult ... to obtain a conventional loan," U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in a release. "These defendants took money out of the hands of the elderly and then put them in houses worth only a fraction of the amounts represented."