Homebuilder sentenced in mortgage fraud

Tony Symmes gets nearly three years in prison

Chico builder Anthony Symmes was sentenced in federal court April 13 to 35 months in prison for conspiring to commit fraud and one count of money laundering in connection to a mortgage scam that operated between 2006 and 2008 and involved the sale of 62 Symmes-built homes.

Symmes (pictured) pleaded guilty to the charges two years ago and paid $4 million in restitution. He was facing six years, but his cooperation with the feds greatly reduced the sentence. According to a press release, U.S. District Court Judge Edward J. Garcia said in sentencing Symmes “that he weighed the defendant’s substantial assistance to the government against the scope of his fraud, which spanned over two years and involved millions of dollars.”

Symmes agreed to wear a recording device and secretly tape conservations with others charged in the crime, including Chico realtor Kesha Haynie, who was recently convicted of mail fraud. Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey said a recorded conversation used during Haynie’s six-day trial aided in her conviction.

Meanwhile, Haynie’s brother, Niche Fortune, was sentenced to four years and nine months after being found guilty of the same charges.