Scammer sentenced

Last of the Chico mortgage fraudsters sentenced

The last of the Chico mortgage scammers was sentenced in federal court last week to three years and 10 months in prison on two counts of mail fraud.

Kesha Haynie, 41, was found guilty last March after a six-day trial. Her brother, Niche Fortune, pleaded guilty to the same charges in April and was sentenced to four years and nine months.

According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Haynie operated Empire Mortgage in Chico from April 2007 through the following December and made fraudulent loan applications and promised homebuyers kickbacks from a Chico homebuilder. That homebuilder was Tony Symmes, who wrote checks averaging $41,000 to co-conspirators the day after the close of escrow.

In April, Symmes was sentenced to two years, 11 months for his role in the scam. Last month, Garret Griffith Gililland III, the scam’s alleged mastermind, was sentenced to seven years and 10 months.