That's an easy enough proposition, isn't it? When you're considering participating in some nefarious activity, go ahead and do a quick cost benefit analysis and determine if you can handle the jail time for the crime you're about to commit. Simple. I'm sure we've all posed that question to ourselves at some point or another, how much money would justify going to jail for? Maybe a million bucks? Perhaps half a million for a year behind bars? Who knows.
That brings us to the mastermind behind the first mortgage fraud caper we discussed on our blog, none other than John Arthur Romney. For those of you who aren't acquainted with Mr. Romney, back in 2008 Mr. Romney masterminded a mortgage fraud scheme where he purchased a home then a week or so later through the use of a straw buyer, flipped it for a tidy $400k profit. Not bad for a weeks work, right? Problems arose for Mr. Romney when his straw buyer claimed that he had nothing to do with the transaction and in fact his identity was stolen in the commission of this fraud. We have our doubts about those claims from the alleged straw buyer as the evidence seems to indicate that he was indeed involved in the fraud. Regardless, back in February of 2011, Mr. Romney took a plea and admitted to his role in the fraud and subsequently was sentenced to 30 months in prison along with another ten years worth of probation. In our humble opinion, that seemed like a slap on the wrist considering that after a few minutes playing around online we were able to find several other frauds that Mr. Romney was involved in, not to mention the fact that we're told that Mr. Romney had told law enforcement and the prosecutors about tons of other frauds that he had conducted.
That's all well and good, at least 30 months behind bars is better than what almost all of the other fraudsters that the heralded Miami Dade County Mortgage Fraud Task Force prosecuted got, we were unable to find anyone that got anything more than probation despite millions of dollars worth of fraud that they were found guilty of! No worries, at least the state got Mr. Romney's case right, that is until a couple of nights back when I was checking in on Mr. Romney's whereabouts in the state prison system. From his department of corrections page...
The department of correction's page states that Mr. Romney is at the Opa Locka W.R.C. and that his "Current Custody" is "community". I did a little digging and found out that "W.R.C." stands for "Work Release Center". WTF?!
Isn't that wonderful? Mr Romney is out on the street! He gets to run around all day then come back to a tax payer funded bed at night! SWEET!!!
So is that it? Admit to stealing nearly $400k and all you get is less than 10 months behind bars? Let's go back to the title of today's post...
"Don't do the crime if you can't do the time..."
With that in mind, let's do a quick cost benefit analysis. Let's assume that he stole $400k and that he was behind bars for exactly ten months for ease of calculation. That works out to $40k per month or approximately $1,300 per day. How many of you guys our there are making $1,300 per day? Considering our current economic climate, I'd venture to guess that not many of us are doing so. Remember, this doesn't even take into consideration the other real estate/mortgage frauds that Mr. Romney has admitted to. Add those numbers in and his average take per day could go up ten fold.
I'll leave you with this, do you guys believe nine months behind bars was an adequate punishment for defrauding a bank out of $400k? $40k per month while being fed and clothed by the state doesn't seem like such a bad deal after all, does it?