Lee B. Farkas, an Ocala mortgage executive convicted of orchestrating a nearly $3 billion fraud as chairman of one of America's largest private mortgage companies, was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in prison by a judge who accused him of showing no remorse.
Federal authorities say the case against Farkas, former chairman of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker, is one of the largest prosecutions arising from the nation's financial crisis. The fraud put thousands of Florida employees out of work and contributed to the collapse of Colonial Bank, which authorities described as the sixth-largest bank collapse in U.S. history.
The judge seem undeterred in sentencing Farkas, 58, by a number of letters sent to the court praising examples of Farkas' generosity and public support of Ocala events.
"He deserves to be punished severely in light of the enormity of his crimes. The losses from this case are, in fact, off the charts," federal prosecutor Patrick Stokes told a judge.
"He has destroyed lives and institutions."
Farkas denied wrongdoing when he testified at his trial. He was convicted in April of all 14 counts, including securities fraud and conspiracy. On Thursday, he acknowledged taking risks and making errors in judgment to keep his company afloat. But did not directly apologize for any fraud.
Information from Times files was used in this report.