ROBERS v. UNITED STATES
Benjamin Robers was involved in a mortgage fraud scheme. His role was to pose as a legitimate buyer of houses, make fraudulent loan applications⎯by misrepresenting his income and his intention to live in the house and repay the mortgage⎯then allow the loan to default by not paying it. Eventually, the bank foreclosed on the houses and then sold them to pay back the lenders. Robers was able to secure two houses under this guise.
After government officials discovered the scheme but prior to indictment, Robers pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud because the funds for the fraudulent loans were disbursed electronically (wired) by lenders. A federal district court sentenced him to three years of probation and ordered him to pay restitution pursuant to the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act (MVRA) in the amount of $218,952.18 for both incidents. The amount was calculated by finding the difference between each loan and the resale amount of each house that was foreclosed (the offset value). Robers appealed the restitution award and argued that the wrong offset value was used in the calculation; instead, the fair market price at the time of foreclosure should have been used. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s holding in part, vacated attorney fees and “other expenses” from the restitution sum, and remanded the case back to the district court to draw a new order with the corrected sum.
Does a defendant who has fraudulently obtained a loan and thus owes restitution for the loan under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act (MVRA) return “any part “ of the loan money by surrendering title to a house that has fallen under foreclosure?