Carr said during Monday's sentencing that Morris was the ninth of 10 children, and grew up in government-subsidized housing in a California farming community. He eventually became interested in real estate and attended seminars, making moderate strides before becoming entangled in illegal activity.
"As is often the case," Carr said, "his fall was much further and faster than his ascent."
U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said during a news conference after Monday's sentencing that the scheme cost West Virginia lenders alone at least $2 million, but said he could not place a number on the losses homeowners in the Stonegate subdivision suffered.
Ryan said that because of the fraud scheme, appraisers and lenders steer clear of the neighborhood.
"The worst part is the collateral damage," Ryan said. "It's the person who lives next door."
Morris pleaded guilty to the charges in the West Virginia case earlier this year. The plea agreement was linked to a second string of charges he admitted to in Utah, where he was accused of operating a $60 million Ponzi scheme that also involved members of his real estate group.
Morris will be sentenced on those charges later this week. Prosecutors have agreed to recommend that his prison term in that case run at the same time as his sentence on the West Virginia charges.
For their roles in the scheme, Todd Joyce and Mark Greenlee each received 18 months in prison. Michael Hurd received 26 months and Deborah Joyce received 46 months.
James Thornton, who prosecutors have said helped the investigation the most, received 18 months of probation.
Reach Zac Taylor at Zachary.Tay...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.