A Valley Springs man was sentenced to five years of probation on Tuesday for embezzling $14,000 in taxpayer money from a federally funded program meant to help homeowners avoid foreclosure after the 2008 financial crisis, according to federal prosecutors.
Raymond Cawthorne, 57, previously paid back the $14,000 and forfeited an additional $14,000 as part of his sentence, which was handed down in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.
“Raymond Cawthorne was sentenced today for embezzling funds from a federal rescue program that is still in use today to help homeowners stay in their homes,” Special Inspector General Christy Goldsmith Romero said.
Romero said that Cawthorne is one of 384 people convicted of crimes investigated by the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, a federal law enforcement agency that targets crime at financial institutions and federally funded housing programs.
Cawthorne pleaded guilty in December to embezzling the public funds between May 2015 and October 2016 from the Keep Your Home California Program, which was launched after the 2008 financial crisis and provided unemployed homeowners with temporary mortgage assistance.
The program was part of a broader effort by the federal government to stabilize the nation’s housing market by providing financial support to the states with the most distressed markets.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Barton prosecuted the case.
Cawthorne was originally facing a maximum of 10 years in prison and up to $250,000 fine. A representative for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in December that he was not indicted and was charged via what’s referred to as an “information,” which typically happens when a defendant knows they are being investigated and shows willingness to cooperate.
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