FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A real estate broker who admitted to a $5 million fraud was sentenced to about three years in prison Tuesday in federal court.
Christopher Wayne White, born in Jamaica, lived a flashy lifestyle in Fort Lauderdale through lies and money that wasn't his. He pressured clients into paying higher deposits than needed, records show, and he collected the money through his Chris White Group.
He used money meant for real estate investments to cover personal expenses -- including bills from his criminal defense attorney. His games started to fall apart when some of his clients demanded that he return about $750,000 in deposits.
White also fraudulently obtained a $4.9 million mortgage to buy a waterfront mansion that later went on foreclosure, prosecutors said. White also lied to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on his April 16 U.S. citizenship application.
He was arrested in September on immigration charges and released on a $150,000 bond. He was re-arrested in November for fraud.
White pleaded guilty Nov. 21 to one count of wire fraud affecting a financial institution, six counts of wire fraud and three counts of making false statements on a citizen application. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge William P. Dimitrouleas sentenced him 41 months in prison and three years probation.
Dimitrouleas also ordered White to pay about $4 million in restitution to victims in three separate fraud cases. The Secretary of Florida's Department of Business and Professional Regulation suspended White's real estate broker's license.
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