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March 8, 2013

Former Destin Mortgage Broker Sentenced to Two Years in Prison for Bank Fraud

PENSACOLA, FLA former mortgage broker, Randolph Branham, 46, of Destin, Florida, was sentenced in federal court yesterday to two years in prison and ordered to pay over $1.8 million in restitution, having been adjudicated guilty of multiple bank fraud violations.

In December of last year, Branham pled guilty to a five-count indictment, alleging that he had overstated his income to financial institutions and mortgage lenders on mortgage loan documents related to six pieces of property located in Destin, Panama City Beach, and Freeport, Florida. As a part of the scheme to defraud the lenders, Branham also submitted fraudulent letters falsely inflating his income. Approximately $2.4 million in loans were issued by the lenders as a result of Branham's fraud. The lenders defrauded included The First National Bank of Florida (which was closed by the FDIC in September 2011), SunTrust Mortgage, Trustmark National Bank, First City Bank of Florida, IndyMac Bank (now known as OneWest Bank), and Bank of America.

Yesterday afternoon, Senior U.S. District Judge Lacey A. Collier sentenced Branham to two years in prison and ordered him to pay over $1.8 million in restitution to the victim lenders and the FDIC as Receiver for The First National Bank of Florida due to the bank's closure.

Pamela C. Marsh, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, praised the work of Northwest Florida Mortgage Fraud Task Force, a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

U.S. Attorney Marsh stated, "The successful prosecution of this mortgage broker on mortgage fraud offenses demonstrates the commitment of the Department of Justice to combating mortgage fraud in the Northern District of Florida. It is critical that we protect the integrity of the real estate market and banking institutions in our communities, which are major contributors to the health of our economy in Florida. I commend the investigative activities of the Northwest Florida Mortgage Fraud Task Force, a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Together, they did an excellent job in unraveling some very complicated real estate financial transactions in this case."

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tiffany H. Eggers.

Source: United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida

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