Lee Farkas, 61, hid billions of dollars through phony accounting and triple-selling mortgages to various financial institutions.
He is serving a 30-year prison sentence at Butner Federal Penitentiary in North Carolina and supposedly withering away.
Farkas who says he is lonely and suffering from depression said, “you’re not really alive in here, you’re a zombie — just a body walking around, eating, sleeping and being yelled at,” the WSJ reports.
Farkas’s story was featured in CNBC’s series “American Greed” and, according to the documentary, this is how it all went down.
In 1991, completely broke and with no formal training in finance, Farkas bought a small mortgage company called Taylor, Bean & Whitaker with $75,000 he had borrowed from a friend. Within 10 years, TBW was easily processing more than 6,000 mortgages a year, and the company became one of the nation’s top mortgage lenders during housing-bubble inflation.
Farkas manufactured phony mortgages while looting his own company into debt. He misappropriated nearly $US38.5 million to finance a lavish lifestyle with several homes, vintage cars, and a private jet, the WSJ reports.
Catherine Kissick, Farkas’s partner in crime and senior vice president of Alabama-based Colonial Bank, swept massive funds into TBW’s accounts in order to cover up a staggering accumulated deficit.
Farkas and six co-conspirators were responsible for one of the biggest fraud schemes to emerge from the housing crisis and the sixth-largest bank failure in American history.
Farkas’ trial lasted less than three weeks and in April 19, 2011 he was found guilty of 14 counts of conspiracy and fraud, all the while, refusing to admit to his crime.
He was sentenced to 30 years in prison by District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema who later criticised Farkas’s lack of remorse, saying his only regret was “getting caught.” Farkas and six others were ordered to pay a total of about $US3.5 billion in restitution.
Farkas is scheduled for release in 2041 when he will be 88-years-old.
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