Sacto 9-1-1
September 14, 2012
Chico mortgage broker sentenced to prison in kickback scheme

A Chico mortgage broker was sentenced today in federal court in Sacramento to three years and 10 months in prison for her role in a mortgage fraud scheme.

Kesha Danine Fortune Haynie, 41, was convicted by a jury in March of two counts of mail fraud in connection with the scheme. She was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Edward J. Garcia.

According to testimony presented at trial, Haynie operated Empire Mortgage in Chico. From April through December 2007, she originated fraudulent loan applications in connection with a cash-back-to-buyer mortgage fraud scheme, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

Evidence showed that Haynie promised home buyers kickbacks from a Chico home builder in exchange for purchasing homes. The day after the close of escrow, the home builder would write checks averaging $41,000 to the conspirators. Haynie and her co-conspirators 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. Authorities said evidence also showed that Haynie participated in submitting false documents to mortgage lenders to obtain the loans.

The case resulted from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and the Butte County District Attorney's Office.

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