Crime - Sacto 911

Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: What happened to man accused of mortgage fraud in Sacramento, Chico

Do you have any information regarding Leonard Williams, indicted in Sacramento on money laundering, real estate fraud and tax evasion?

– Missy, Sacramento

A federal jury in Sacramento on July 24 convicted Leonard E. Williams, 52, of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and two counts of money laundering, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

Evidence presented during a six-day trial indicated that from late 2006 into 2008, Williams conspired with others to carry out a mortgage fraud scheme in the Chico and Sacramento areas, using his companies Diamond Hill Financial and Bay Area Real Estate Holdings. The scheme resulted in issuance of more than $2 million in home loans, with most of the buyers eventually defaulting.

Williams and his co-conspirators assisted home buyers in securing loans with fraudulent loan applications that contained lies about the buyers’ employment, income, assets and intent to occupy the homes as a primary residence. In most cases, at Williams’ suggestion, the loan applications falsely stated that the buyers worked at Diamond Hill Financial, and Williams maintained the charade by confirming the false information when lenders called to verify it.

Federal authorities said Williams is the last of 14 defendants who have been convicted of mortgage fraud offenses in connection with this and related cases. Twelve of the defendants pleaded guilty, while the two defendants who went to trial – Williams and Kesha Haynie – were convicted by juries. Williams is to be sentenced Oct. 27.