As the title states, yesterday the last remaining defendant from the Bernardo Barrera mortgage fraud case, John Arthur Romney, entered his plea and was sent to jail. I don't have the specifics of the plea yet, all we know is that the state dropped the organized scheme to defraud and the identity theft charges while Mr. Romney pleaded guilty to the Grand Theft charge. I find that especially troubling, that of the three defendants originally charged with "stealing" Mr. Barrera's identity for the commission of this fraud, none were successfully prosecuted for Identity Theft. What does that tell you? Draw your own conclusions.
While I feel no joy in seeing a young man in the prime of his life being sent off to jail, I have some level of satisfaction that there was finally justice done in light of the dozens of other mortgage fraud cases that we've discussed where the state couldn't do better than getting a probation sentence for the offenders. I honestly believe that with a stiff sentence (30 months in state prison from what I understand) for Mr. Romney, the state is sending a message to potential fraudsters, screw around with white collar crime and your ass will be going to jail. I'd like to commend the State Attorneys Office for having the determination to stick it out and finally achieve a just outcome in light of the severity of the crime that was committed and also to congratulate Assistant State Attorney Stephen LeClair who took over the case from the previous prosecutor as well as the head of the recently formed Mortgage Fraud unit in the State Attorneys office, Assistant State Attorney David Sherman, for achieving this conviction.
Good luck Mr. Romney, I hope you have time to reflect on the damage you've done to yourself, your family and the others that you senselessly dragged into this mess. I pray that you and your family are able to get through the next 30 months with as little suffering as possible.