Suspended lawyer gets prison time for mortgage fraud

A suspended Las Vegas lawyer was sentenced Thursday to 41 months in prison after prosecutors described him as a leader and organizer in a mortgage fraud scheme.

The defendant, Stanley Walton, also must pay about $3.1 million in restitution. He has until Jan. 24 to surrender to prison.

Walton, 55, pleaded guilty in May to one count of conspiracy to commit bank, mail and wire fraud.

On Thursday, he told U.S. District Judge James Mahan that the day of his plea “was the hardest, toughest day” of his life, and he asked the judge to consider granting him probation.

“There was never, ever any intent to defraud,” Walton said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Schiess later used that statement to bolster the government’s argument for prison time.

The prosecutor read excerpts from Walton’s plea agreement and said, “He either lied then, when he entered his plea, or he’s lying now.”

According to the document, Walton and others conspired from September 2004 through July 2007 “to fraudulently obtain residential mortgages in order to obtain proceeds from the mortgages for their personal use.”

He advised the straw buyers to use their names and credit to purchase the homes and said he would split the profits with them when the homes were resold.

Walton and his co-schemers fraudulently purchased six homes in Henderson and three homes in Las Vegas.

“In his mind, there was never any intent to not pay these loans,” defense attorney Thomas Ericsson said.

Ericsson noted that Walton lost his own home through foreclosure while trying to keep up with all the payments.

Walton and loan officer Pamela Black were indicted in February 2011 on the conspiracy charge.

“Mr. Walton, when you pleaded guilty, I said this was a sorry day, and it was a sorry day,” the judge told the defendant on Thursday.

Mahan then contrasted Walton’s contrite attitude on that day to his claim at the sentencing hearing that he had no intent to defraud.

The judge said Walton may not have specialized in real estate law, but he knew he couldn’t submit false information to banks.

Black also pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge. She was sentenced in July 2012 to time served and was ordered to pay about $1.2 million in restitution.

As part of Walton’s plea deal, he agreed to the forfeiture of $750,000 in money or property, in addition to the restitution.

Walton, an Army veteran, said he moved to Las Vegas in 1989 and has lived an admirable life.

“I worked very hard in my life to do the right thing,” he said.

According to the State Bar of Nevada website, he obtained his law degree from Washburn University in Topeka, Kan., and he received his license to practice law in Nevada in 1992. The website also indicates his license is suspended.

In his law practice, Walton primarily handled criminal and personal injury cases.

Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at cgeer@reviewjournal.com or 702-384-8710. Follow @CarriGeer on Twitter.


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