A Utah man is the latest conviction in a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme linked to properties in a Putnam County subdivision.

“A lot of people around the country thought they could cheat the system and get away with it,” said U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.

Raymond Paul Morris, 51, of South Weber, Utah was sentenced Monday to four years and nine months in federal prison for his leadership role in the scheme.

Back in July, Morris pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.

Morris admitted to participating in the sophisticated scheme in early 2006 along with convicted co-conspirators Deborah L. Joyce, 38, of Hurricane, and Michael S. Hurd, 37, of Utah.

Morris, Hurd and Joyce, between July 2006 through December 2007, profited from illegally “flipping” existing homes in the Stonegate subdivision to out-of-state borrowers at falsely inflated sales prices.

Goodwin said this scheme cost a lot of local residents a lot of money.

“There crimes cost mortgage lenders almost $2 million dollars just here in the southern district of West Virginia,” said Goodwin.

A six month investigation into the scheme resulted in six people ultimately being sentenced to a total of 166 months behind bars for their involvement in the fraudulent scheme.

“I think it sends a very clear message that this is not something you want to do and this is something that is serious,” said Goodwin.

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