Facing the possibility of years in prison for his role in a multi-million-dollar mortgage fraud ring, a former corrections officer begged for mercy from the sentencing judge, signing his note: “Forever and eternally remorseful, Jacques Kelly.”
The federal judge, Janet Hall, Monday handed down a sentence of 15 months imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release. Kelly (pictured) will also have to pay restitution of $179,769.
Kelly was found guilty in April of conspiracy to commit mail, wire, and bank fraud, as well as one count of wire fraud and one count of making a false statement to a financial institution. Kelly was part of a ring of mortgage fraudsters who swindled lenders out of millions, bought properties in struggling neighborhoods under false pretenses and then left them to rot. His co-defendant, Andrew Constantinou , remains to be sentenced.
The feds made their case against Kelly and Hutchison with the help of confessed conspirator Joseph Menachem “Yossi” Levitin, a central figure in the fraud ring. Levitin took the stand in the hopes of reducing his sentence from 30 years to zero.
In the trial, Kelly’s lawyer, Bruce Koffsky, portrayed his client as a naive investor who was gulled by liars and cheats. Kelly aspired to become a real-estate mogul, and was misled by late-night infomercials about how to make money quick by buying and selling property. He got in over his head with people who took advantage of his inexperience, Koffsky argued.
It wasn’t enough to convince the jury, which found Kelly guilty on all counts.
In a sentencing memo to Judge Hall, the prosecution asked for a sentence of at least 29 months.
“Kelly joined the conspiracy with his eyes wide open and took an active role in achieving the scheme’s goals,” U.S. Attorney Paul Fisman wrote. Kelly knowingly signed numerous false leases to convince banks that he had rental income and secure mortgages, the lawyer wrote.
“Beyond the sheer numbers on loss and number of transactions, however, Kelly’s conduct was, at its core, deceitful and dishonest. It was this deception, about information that Kelly knew the lenders would be relying on to evaluate his mortgage application, that duped the lenders into giving Kelly mortgages in amounts that he was otherwise not qualified to obtain. “
A sentencing memo from attorney Koffsky, Kelly’s lawyer, asked Hall for a sentence of not more than a year and a day.
“Jacques Kelly, with the clear-eyed vision and understanding of the present, accepts full responsibility for his behavior, for his actions and the resulting harm caused by his poor judgment,” Koffsky wrote. “A man of modest education, not skilled in the complexities and nuances of commercial transactions and willfully blind to the fact that such a scheme was too good to be true, it took hearing the evidence of his role as a conspirator unfold at trial for Mr. Kelly to come to terms with the wrongfulness of his actions.”
Koffsky’s memo is accompanied by a number of typed character references from former corrections and Air Force colleagues. Also included is a handwritten note from Kelly to Hall. “I do believe somewhere along the line a great misunderstanding took place of which I could have corrected,” he wrote.
Previous articles about this case and a related New Haven mortgage-fraud case:
• Will White-Collar Crime Bring Jail Time?
• Facing 30 Years, Scammer Turns Star Witness
• Scammer, Awaiting Sentence, Rebuilds
• Patsies? Or Schemers?
• Fraud Defense: Banks Were The Real Crooks
• Jury Convicts 2 In Mortgage Scam
• Kwame & Straw Buyer Leave Trail Of Blight
• 1 Mortgage Fraud Ring Down, Feds Turn To 2nd
• “Big Liberal” Gets 5 Years For Ripping Off Poor
• White-Collar Criminals Sent To Slammer
• Judge Baffled By Two Morris Olmers
• Feds Will Retry Avigdor
• 4 Convicted In Fraud Scam; Mistrial For Rabbi
• Jury Can’t Agree In Scam Trial
• Avigdor’s Final Plea: Follow The Money
• Claire: The Rabbi Is Kosher
• Wednesday The Rabbi Took The Stand
• Straw Buyer Lured Into A Wild Ride
• After Big Fish Plead, Smaller Fry Point Fingers
• Slum-Photo Doctor Makes A Call
• What Happened At Goodfellas Didn’t Stay At Goodfellas
• Fraud Trial Opens With Oz-Like Yarn
• “Partying” MySpacer Lined Up Scam Homebuyers
• “Straw Buyer” Pleads Guilty
• Neighbors, Taxpayers Left With The Tab
• FBI Arrests Police Commissioner, Slumlord, Rabbi
• One Last Gambit Falls Short
• Was He In “Custody”?
• Is Slum Landlord Helping The FBI?
• Feds Snag Poverty Landlord
• Police Commissioner Pleads
• Mortgage Fraud Mastermind Gets 10 Years