Former Hillsborough official sentenced for mortgage fraud
TAMPA The former Hillsborough County government director of real estate was sentenced this morning to a year and a day in federal prison for two counts of mortgage fraud. Anthony Haynes, 54, of Seffner must also serve five years probation upon his release from prison under the terms of a sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Kovachevich. Haynes told the judge he regrets his actions in connection with a Tennessee land deal in which signed two mortgage applications for a total of more than $1 million in loans with false information about his income. Defense lawyer Daniel Fernandez said the documents were prepared by schemers in Tennessee who were recently convicted of fraud in that state.Fernandez said Haynes got $162,000 from the loan, which he used to pay the mortgage, hoping the value of the property would go up as promised by the promoters and that he could then sell it at a profit. The charges against Haynes carry a maximum of 30 years, and sentencing guidelines called for at least 21 months behind bars. But Kovachevich said Haynes deserved a lesser sentence for several reasons, including the fact that he poses no threat to society and has been a dedicated public servant for 28 years. Haynes was also ordered to pay $940,490 in restitution, jointly owed with his codefendants in Tennessee. Haynes had worked for Hillsborough County since March 1985. He was promoted to department director more than a year and a half ago under County Administrator Mike Merrill's staff reorganization. His annual salary was $104,749.