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12/05/12

Long Sentence For Mortgage Fraud - Owings Mills man given 35-year sentence by Baltimore County judge

 

Con artist Rodney Getlan did not just take people's money - his actions caused them to lose their homes.

That he stole the sanctuary of a roof and four walls may have led to Getlan's getting a much longer prison term. Baltimore County Circuit Judge Vicki Ballou-Watts sentenced Getlan to 35 years in prison this week, a sentence on par with punishment for some violent crimes.

 

"Rodney got what he deserved," said Lauri Hartz, who attended the court proceeding as one of nearly 50 known victims of Getlan's scheme to divert mortgage payments to his own accounts.

Prosecutors say the jail time accurately reflects the severity of Getlan's crime — and shows the ferocity with which mortgage scammers are being pursued. In the wake of the housing market collapse and fraud that helped spur the foreclosure crisis, state and federal prosecutors have taken on a growing caseload, with success.

In another case earlier this year, a man was sentenced to 150 years in prison for his participation in a Ponzi scheme that promised — and failed — to pay off investors' mortgages.

Getlan's "complete disregard for the law as well as the victims" helped to justify a long sentence, said Erin McCarthy Naylor, director of mortgage fraud for the Commissioner of Financial Regulation, a division of the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

"Your home is your security," said Hartz, 56.

Naylor helped prosecute the case, the first criminal mortgage fraud case that the state agency has been involved in since her position was created last year, in part to offer expertise to local state's attorneys' offices. Before then, investigators would refer potential criminal charges to local or federal prosecutors, and their involvement would end there.

Now the agency is partnering with prosecutors in Carroll and Prince George's county on mortgage fraud cases in which suspects have been indicted. It also has active investigations in Baltimore and Baltimore, Prince George's and Howard counties, she said.

Read the rest of the Baltimore Sun article here