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RE Agent to Serve 4 Years in Prison

Jodi D. Robinson gets 51 months in $2.4 million fraud case

July 14, 2011

By JOE MACENKA Richmond Times-Dispatch - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

A real estate agent in Virginia was sentenced to more than four years in prison after admitting to defrauding mortgage lenders on 16 loans.

The former Richmond, Va., real estate agent was ordered Wednesday to serve 51 months in federal prison and make restitution of more than $1.1 million for a mortgage-fraud scheme that ensnared 11 victims.

"I never meant to hurt anyone. I was basically trying to put a Band-Aid on something that wouldn't fit," Jodi D. Robinson told U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer before he sentenced her for her guilty plea in April to a single count of mail fraud.

The sentence represented the low end of federal guidelines that called for Robinson, 38, to serve up to 63 months behind bars. The maximum prison term for the conviction is 30 years.

In her plea agreement, Robinson admitted obtaining 16 fraudulent real estate loans worth $2.4 million over five years. Losses totaled slightly more than $1.1 million.

Defense attorney C. David Whaley said his client, who surrendered her real estate license as part of her guilty plea, has been commuting five days a week to Washington, to a new job for CoStar Group Inc., a commercial real estate research company.

"She's got an incredible work ethic," Whaley said in asking Spencer for leniency. "This house of cards that she built just collapsed and overwhelmed her."

Robinson misrepresented the creditworthiness of borrowers, used straw parties on loan applications and defrauded the federal Section 8 rental voucher program. Authorities said Robinson's scheme victimized five financial institutions and six mortgage insurance companies.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David T. Maguire said it took authorities months to appreciate the complexity of Robinson's fraud.

"It was basically open season on our lending and mortgage institutions, many of which were federally insured," Maguire said in asking for a sentence that would "send a message out to other people in the industry."

As part of his sentence, Spencer ordered Robinson to serve five years of supervised probation after her release from prison, and he barred her from working in the mortgage loan or real estate sales industries. The judge ordered Robinson to make restitution of $1,130,625.33 to the 11 victims, starting six months after her release from prison and for at least $250 per month.

The two largest amounts in Spencer's restitution order were $194,287.44 to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., known as Freddie Mac, and $137,700.97 to the Federal National Mortgage Association, known as Fannie Mae.

Maguire said Robinson has been cooperating with authorities, and he told the judge it was possible he would return to Spencer in the future to seek a sentence reduction.

Robinson is to report to federal marshals by Aug. 9 to begin her sentence.

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