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Secretary of State

SOS > Media Center >  Press Releases > Investigation by Indiana Securities Division helps lead to felony conviction against Ft. Wayne loan broker Investigation by Indiana Securities Division helps lead to felony conviction against Ft. Wayne loan broker

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2010

Joseph Garretson sentenced to 11 ½ years after plea agreement; admitted to misusing millions in victims’ funds after brokering refinanced mortgages

INDIANAPOLIS – A former Fort Wayne mortgage loan broker will serve a sentence of 11 ½ years in prison, pay a fine of $5,000 and was ordered to repay his victims $3.4 million after a sentence handed down by an Allen County Judge Frances Gull. Joseph Garretson, who operated the businesses Fort Wayne Title and Fort Wayne Mortgage pleaded guilty to three felony counts including Unlawful Loan Origination Activities, a violation of the Indiana Loan Broker Act.

The conviction and plea agreement come after a joint investigation involving Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita’s Prosecution Assistance Unit (PAU), the office of Allen County Prosecuting Attorney Karen Richards – particularly Deputy Prosecutor Timothy McCaulay, and the Indiana Department of Insurance. Garretson was also sentenced on charges of Conversion or Misappropriation of Title Insurance Escrow Funds, a Class B felony, and Corrupt Business Influence, a Class C felony. Unlawful Loan Origination Activities is a Class D felony.

“This conviction and sentence are the positive results of a successful partnership between state and local agencies,” said Secretary Rokita. “This was a complex investigation conducted to stop a massive mortgage fraud scheme. I’m pleased we’ve been able to work with Prosecutor Richards and her Deputy Timothy McCaulay to bring this law breaker to justice.”

According to documents filed with the court as part of the investigation, Garretson would broker mortgage refinances by obtaining new mortgages on behalf of victims, but not pay off the victims’ original mortgages. Instead, he would keep the money obtained from the new mortgage and make payments on the original mortgage.

Garretson was permanently barred from operating as a mortgage loan broker in Indiana in September 2009 but complaints had been made to the Indiana Securities Division since then that he was still operating.

For more information on how to avoid becoming a victim of investment fraud, visit http://www.indianainvestmentwatch.com/.

About the Prosecution Assistance Unit
In 2004, Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita created the Prosecution Assistance Unit within the Securities Division of the Secretary of State’s Office. Its sole purpose is to assist police and prosecutors in investigating and prosecuting criminal violations of the Indiana Securities Act and the Indiana Loan Brokers Act. The investigators and attorneys in the unit collectively have over 72 years of experience in investigating and prosecuting criminals. Since its inception, the Unit has helped to convict 44 criminals in state and federal courts across Indiana in cases that have resulted in over 335 years of time sentenced. In addition, courts have ordered defendants to pay over $29 million in restitution to crime victims.

Media Contact: Jim Gavin, 317.233.8655, media@sos.in.gov

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