A Florida man described as a “mastermind of real estate flipping” was sentenced to more than 11 years in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $7 million.
A federal judge in Tampa sentenced Stephen Mayer about three months after he was found guilty on nine counts of wire fraud and conspiracy.
Evidence presented during a nine-day trial showed Mayer bought distressed properties, then resold them at a higher price to “credit partners,” who never intended to live in the properties or to make mortgage payments. The credit partners then deeded the properties back to Mayer or one of his several shell companies, and he flipped them again to other credit partners, skimming the equity. He failed to make mortgage payments and the properties ultimately went into foreclosure.
Agents identified more than 20 homes used by Mayer in the conspiracy between 2003 and 2007. Most of the properties were in Hillsborough County, according to the original complaint against Mayer, filed in April 2014.
Mayer used the proceeds from the real estate scheme to fund a lavish personal lifestyle, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida. Lenders lost more than $3.1 million, prosecutors said.