US District Court for Eastern California

A Valley Springs man has pleaded guilty to embezzling public funds from a federal program intended to help people avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes after the 2008 financial crisis.

Court documents said that Raymond Cawthorne, 57, embezzled more than $14,000 between May 2015 and October 2016 from the Keep Your Home California Program, which provided eligible homeowners with temporary mortgage assistance.

Cawthorne faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when he’s sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd on Feb. 24, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California.

The news release stated that the case was the product of an investigation 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.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Barton prosecuted the case.

A plea agreement filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California on Nov. 25 stated that Cawthorne admitted to one count of embezzlement or theft of public funds that belonged to the federal Treasury Department.

Cawthorne entered the guilty plea at his arraignment on Monday that was presided over by Drozd, according to court records.

Further details about the investigation that brought the crime to light were not released. The U.S. Attorney’s Office also declined a request by The Union Democrat for an interview with Barton.

Lauren Horwood, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said Cawthorne was not indicted and charged via what’s called an “information,” which typically happens when a defendant knows he is being investigated and indicates a willingness to cooperate.

Very little gets entered into the public record in such cases, Horwood said.

 

Contact Alex MacLean at amaclean@uniondemocrat.com or (209) 588-4530.

 

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