Sentencing / Post-Conviction

Super-Remorseful Attorney Gets Less Time for Mortgage Fraud

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Stephen Gunther reportedly made less than $10,000 by closing four real estate deals on terms he didn’t disclose to the mortgage lenders.

And now the Virginia real estate attorney is paying a high price after straw buyers defaulted on the loans. Lenders lost some $231,000, and Gunther must make restitution for that loss once he finishes serving his prison sentence for wire fraud, reports the Virginian-Pilot.

But for the 40-year-old attorney’s extraordinary remorse, he likely would have gotten over two years: Federal sentencing guidelines call for 27 to 33 months, the newspaper says. However, the multiple seminars he held to warn others away from such misconduct and an apparently heartfelt apology persuaded U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson to give Gunther only 20 months at his sentencing Monday in Norfolk.

After earning a general equivalency degree to put himself on a path to higher education, Gunther went to law school and established a successful practice. But cutting corners put him on a path to a situation that he and those who knew him never foresaw, he recounts in a apology and warning to others posted on his law firm website.

“I have seen a great deal of good come of this already and I appreciate all of the support I have received,” his mea culpa concludes. “I am trying very hard to handle this situation and my obligations in a manner that demonstrates integrity and character. I know that I will get through this. I thank those of you who trusted me with your legal work. I hope this is helpful to those who read it and to everyone, I sincerely apologize.”

Earlier coverage: “Attorney in Federal Wire Fraud Case Allegedly Didn’t ID Buyers at Closings”

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