28 April – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Donald Saxon, Commissioner, State of Florida Office of Financial Regulation; and Guy M. Tunnell, Commissioner, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, announced today that on April 25, 2005, defendants, Mary Christenson and Eric Johnson turned themselves in to the United States Marshal’s Service to begin serving their terms of imprisonment. Pursuant to a recent ruling of United States District Court Judge William Dimitrouleas, the defendants were required to self-surrender at 8:30 a.m. at the Federal Courthouse in Miami, Florida, on April 25, 2005, to begin serving their sentences.
In November 2002, a federal jury returned a guilty verdict on twenty-two (22) counts against Christenson and Johnson, following a six (6) week mortgage fraud trial in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Christenson was part of a group involved in the northwest section of Fort Lauderdale with the illegal “flipping”of real estate properties. Christenson bought the properties from entities controlled by her son, James Christenson, who was charged with others in a 1999 mortgage fraud scheme in Fort Lauderdale. Christenson bought the properties at inflated prices with more than fifty (50) of the properties going into foreclosure, forcing tenants in these buildings out, as the lenders foreclosed on the property. Christenson obtained the properties through false mortgage applications processed through Johnson’s mortgage company, Atlantic Mortgage Corporation.
On March 7, 2003, Mary Christenson was sentenced to serve a term of thirty-three (33) months in prison and to make restitution in the amount of $595,649.56. On March 20, 2003, Eric Johnson was sentenced to a term of thirty (30) months’ imprisonment, and to pay a fine of $12,500, and restitution of $595,649.56. On February 8, 2005, the United States Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the convictions of Christenson and Johnson on all counts. On April 13, 2005, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals denied the defendants’ Petition for a Rehearing En Banc.
Mr. Jiménez commended the investigative efforts of the State of Florida Office of Financial Regulation, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the United States Marshal Service, as well as the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jeffrey Kay and Thomas Lanigan.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls . Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on .