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Courts and Crime


Appeals court tosses mortgage fraud convictions
The appellate court threw out all but six of 69 convictions for one of the area's biggest mortgage fraud cases
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE
and VALERIE BROWN


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 

An appeals court has thrown out most the convictions in one of Northeast Ohio’s first major mortgage fraud cases, and the lawyer for the chief defendant says he hopes to get the rest overturned as well.

A Summit County jury convicted David Willen in 2009 on nearly 70 charges ranging from records tampering to engaging in a pattern of corrupt activities.  An appeals court this week overturned all but six of them.

Willen’s attorney, Bill Whitaker, says his client deserves to be vindicated.

Lawyer Bill Whitaker talks about the appeals court ruling

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Whitaker: “It was not a fair trial, so we were not surprised. We thought that when somebody took an objective look at the law and a look at the facts, that they would come to the conclusion that he did not deserve to be convicted of those crimes.”

Prosecutors have not said whether they’ll try to take the appeals court decision to the Ohio Supreme Court.

A joint mortgage fraud task force built the case against Willen, who headed a group of companies called Evergreen. It sold houses, arranged mortgages and sold securities to investors.

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