CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Utah man who was scheduled for sentencing Monday in Charleston for his role in a complicated mortgage "flipping" scheme involving homes in Putnam County could not find a flight to the East Coast because of the looming hurricane.
Federal authorities said Monday morning that a judge agreed to postpone Raymond Morris' sentencing hearing after his flight to Charleston was canceled.
Morris is one of the reported leaders of a fraud scheme that entailed buying homes in Hurricane's Stonegate subdivision and selling them to members of an investment group at falsely inflated prices.
He pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges of wire fraud and bank fraud and faces up to 30 years in prison.
Hurricane mortgage brokers Todd and Deborah Joyce conscripted appraisers Mark Greenlee and James Thornton to create the inflated appraisals of the homes. The group flipped six properties in the scheme, and the respective lender losses totaled almost $2 million, according to U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.
Michael Hurd, also of Utah, operated a front company that he used to conceal the transactions from the banks and the oblivious investors. He was sentenced to two years in federal prison in August.
Todd and Deborah Joyce were sentenced last year to 36 months and 46 months in prison respectively. Greenlee was sentenced to one year in prison and Thornton received up to six months for cooperating with investigators.
U.S. District Judge Thomas E. Johnston did not immediately set a new date for Morris' sentencing.