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Fraudulent inspector gets 97 months

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Published:   |   Updated: March 7, 2013 at 04:24 PM
TAMPA -

Former Spring Hill home inspector Dean Counce was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge James Moody to 97 months in prison Wednesday.

A judicial assistant from Moody's office confirmed Thursday that in addition to the more than 8-year sentence, Counce will spend 36 months on supervised release, and will have to pay about $12.8 million in restitutions.

Counce, 42, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud back in September 2012. A news release from the United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida from Sept. 14, 2012, recounted the crime as follows:

Counce's company, American Mortgage Field Services, was contracted to inspect "government-owned or insured properties" in 2007, and including homes owned by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration.

Counce's company would visit the property, take photographs and fill out an inspection report, and send them off to the servicing lenders, including Bank of America. American Mortgage Field Services was paid per inspection. As the market declined swiftly, the company received more and more inspection requests, which "far exceeded Counce's or AMFS' capacity to deliver," according to the release, and the company began "fabricating" the reports.

Between 2009 and 2012, Bank of America paid about $19 million for inspections, a "large percentage of which were not performed"; between 2007 and 2009, the bank paid more than $4 million to Counce's company, then known as Mid-Florida Home Securing.

The U.S. government estimates losses of more than $12 million, and the fraud cost taxpayers millions of dollars, according to the release.

In March 2012, the U.S. Secret Service raided the American Mortgage Field Services building, located on Spring Hill Drive at California Street.

On Nov. 27, 2012, Judge Moody ordered Counce to relinquish two parcels of land at 5403 and 5411 Golddust Road in Brooksville, and three pieces of gold and silver jewelry to help repay the money.

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