By Neal Putnam
Ramona real estate agent Teresa Rose was sentenced Jan. 3 to 15 months in federal prison in a mortgage loan fraud scheme. She was ordered to pay $532,687 to victims in a split restitution order with three other co-defendants.
Rose, 58, was allowed to remain free on $50,000 bond by U.S. District Court Judge John Houston until Feb. 17. Houston recommended that she be housed in a women’s prison in Phoenix at the request of her attorney, Michael Lipman.images.WEB
It was a packed courtroom. On one side were Rose’s four daughters, her sister and supporters, and on the other side were several other real estate agents from Ramona, with non-supporters and one victim lender.
Afterwards, as the two groups passed each other in the hallway, applause for the sentence and yelling could be heard inside the courtroom. U.S. marshals quickly separated the two groups, and a prosecutor rushed out and talked to the non-supporters, asking them to stay back.
A woman who was with Rose’s supporters claimed one man had threatened her, but he denied it. Marshals told him to sit down on a bench and wait until the other group left on the 13th floor elevators.
Rose could have received five years in federal prison. She pleaded guilty in 2012 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, and she was the last of six people sentenced in the scheme. Her attorney said the guilty pleas represented actions that occurred in 2006 to 2007.
The state Department of Real Estate will make a determination as to whether Rose’s license will be revoked as a result of her felony convictions, said Lipman, a former federal prosecutor. However, Houston barred Rose from working in real estate after her parole and prohibited her from opening up new lines of credit.
In court documents, Lipman sought a 12-month sentence of house arrest with probation plus 1,000 hours of community service.
Matt Curtiss, the president of Camp Victory Sports in Ramona, offered in a letter to the judge to have Rose volunteer her time as a camp assistant with Ramona Youth Football and American Youth Football.
However, Houston said at the start of the sentencing he did not believe probation was appropriate. Lipman then shifted to urging a prison term not exceeding four months.
Lipman noted that Rose is the “primary caretaker” of her 6-year-old grandson, saying “she stepped up like any grandmother would do.”
According to letters from Rose’s daughters to the judge, the mother of the boy lost custody after she was arrested due to conduct involving drug addiction. The letters are public record.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Allen said Rose was the only real estate agent among the five other co-defendants and her knowledge was essential in completing the scheme. Allen said Rose made more than $200,000 from nine properties in Ramona that went into foreclosure.
Allen said the victims “feel betrayed by the conduct and unfair business practices” that included creating false records that would allow for people to qualify as home buyers. She said Rose’s role was to recruit investors as straw buyers who were promised $10,000, and she falsified loan applications.