Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa man sentenced to 26 years in prison for foreclosure fraud

John W. Lebron, 33, got 26 years in prison and was also ordered to return nearly $1.5 million.

John W. Lebron, 33, got 26 years in prison and was also ordered to return nearly $1.5 million.

TAMPA — A Tampa man has been sentenced to 26 years in prison for foreclosure fraud, and authorities say he defaulted on $1.4 million in loans.

According to federal court documents, John W. Lebron, 33, orchestrated foreclosure rescue fraud and short sale fraud, sometimes called "flopping" a house.

Lebron, who was a licensed real estate agent at the time, opened a company called EZ Investments in 2005 with his wife. In their first deal, Lebron arranged for his sister, Cynthia Lebron, to buy a house that was falling into foreclosure.

John Lebron controlled both ends of the deal — and also served as the loan officer. He got the mortgage broker's commission, even though he put another loan officer's name on the paperwork to hide his plan. He pocketed the proceeds from the sale.

Then, Lebron arranged a short sale of the house to his brother-in-law and simultaneously set up the sale of the house to another straw buyer, whom Lebron arranged to buy the house before the short sale proposal was submitted to the bank.

Lebron gathered fake pay stubs to make it appear this unemployed straw buyer was eligible for a loan. Lebron and his family members pocketed the money from the loan, as well as other commissions and fees. The straw buyers each were paid $5,000 for their help.

In addition to this, Lebron got four other loans through fraud, court records show.

He was arrested in June 2011 and is no longer licensed as a real estate agent.

On Oct. 19, after a three-week jury trial, he was found guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud affecting a financial institution and making false statements to a financial institution.

A judge ordered that Lebron return nearly $1.5 million, and on Friday he was sentenced to 26 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.

The Tampa Bay Times wrote about Lebron in January 2011, before this arrest, when he said he was the victim of a neighbor's harassment.

Lebron's neighbor, Ellis "Rex" Curry IV, and Lebron had been feuding since 2007. Lebron said it was because Curry hated the Lebrons' dogs' barking.

In January 2011, Curry shot Lebron's American bulldog and told police he did it in self-defense. Lebron said he did not believe that. Curry declined to comment for that article.

In 2005, LeBron was charged with possession with intent to sell GHB, an illegal steroid with strong sedative properties. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years of probation.

He was on probation when, according to federal records, he engaged in foreclosure fraud.

Times news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3433.

Tampa man sentenced to 26 years in prison for foreclosure fraud 04/23/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 10:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Back in bargaining, Hillsborough school district and its teachers are $50 million apart

    Blogs

    It started off nice and friendly. Gretchen Saunders, chief business officer for the Hillsborough County Public Schools passed candy around the room. Negotiators for the district and the teachers' union commended one another for their good work during Hurricane Irma. The union thanked the district for paying everybody a …

    This a breakdown of what the school district says the teachers' union requests would cost if granted. The union rejects many of these numbers.
  2. Federal study says humans harmed by dispersant used during Deepwater Horizon

    Water

    A first-of-its-kind scientific study has determined that the dispersant BP sprayed at the oil gushing from the Deepwater Horizon rig in 2010 harmed human health.

  3. Across Tampa Bay, local commercial banks and credit unions appear healthy

    Banking

    In another sign of economic vitality, Florida's home-grown banking industry demonstrated strong bench strength in the latest quarterly analysis by Bauer Financial. The vast majority of commercial banks with headquarters in Florida received five "stars" from Bauer, which is the highest ranking of health on its 0-to-5 …

    Several years ago, First Home Bank in Seminole faced regulators breathing down its neck for inaedquate controls and financial weakness. Under CEO 
Anthony N. Leo, the bank has rebounded. It received a top-rated "5" star rating from Bauer Financial in the latest quarter. Most area banks are doing better these days. [SCOTT KEELER      |     TIMES]
  4. Two linemen lose their wedding rings in Tampa Bay. So far one has been found and returned.

    Human Interest

    Two linemen who spent days restoring power in the Tampa Bay area had the same unfortunate mishap: They lost their wedding rings.

    Facebook helped Michael White find the wedding ring he lost while helping restore power in Tampa Bay.
  5. Need is now for new mental health center at Bay Pines, veterans say

    Veterans

    ST. PETERSBURG — Veteran Ellsworth "Tony" Williams says the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System's new mental health center will help fill an immediate need.

    The new mental health center at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System stands four stories tall and was built at a cost of $92 million. It will centralize services that before were scattered. [HOWARD ALTMAN   |   Staff]