Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Ex-Broker Seaborne Gets 5 Years for Scheme

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Ex-Broker Seaborne Gets 5 Years for Scheme

Article excerpt


Unmoved by Arthur Seaborne's age, his health concerns or the culture of corruption during the real estate boom, a federal judge sentenced the 70-year-old former mortgage broker to five years in prison.

It was the maximum sentence allowable under court guidelines.

U.S. District Court Judge Steven D. Merryday said he had reached the decision because Seaborne's crimes against financial institutions and investors who attended his real estate seminars were "particularly cold-blooded."

"You are a person -- like many others I have seen -- who is well- regulated in many areas of your life," Merryday told Seaborne. "But in one area of your life you went terribly and unaccountably wrong, and you visited unconscionable injury on quite a few of people."

Charged with luring investors into a "no money down" home buying scheme and lying to federally insured lenders on loan applications, Seaborne became choked with tears when it was his turn to address the court.

"I'm truly, truly sorry for my actions," he said.

Seaborne -- one of the real estate professionals featured in a 2009 Herald-Tribune investigation of property flipping -- is one of nearly 30 real estate investors and professionals from Southwest Florida who have been sentenced to prison for crimes committed during the real estate boom.

His sentence was also one of the longest.

Only Rich Bobka -- the chief lieutenant in a decadelong flipping fraud scheme masterminded by R. Craig Adams -- and Bobka's brother, George Cavallo, have received longer sentences.

The victims

During Seaborne's Thursday- morning hearing, his court-appointed attorney, Stephen Baer, tried to get his client's sentence reduced to three and a half years.

But federal prosecutors and two of Seaborne's victims objected to any reduction.

"I represent just one of the single, widowed and divorced women who were cheated and robbed of their nest eggs and led astray by Mr. Seaborne," said Martha Huie, a Sarasota resident who invested with Seaborne during the boom. "He was the beginning of many sleepless nights and eroded finances for these people. Three and a half years is absurd for what he has done."

Mark Winer, whose recently deceased mother also lost money investing with Seaborne, echoed Huie's sentiment. …

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