Former York County Councilman Paul Lindemann was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison Monday after pleading guilty to lying on a mortgage application for a Tega Cay home.
Three other former area businessmen also were sentenced in U.S. District Court to prison sentences for fraud-related charges.
Lindemann will be instructed after April 1 where and when he must report to serve his term.
U.S. District Court Judge Cameron Currie approved the delayed reporting because Lindemann's wife is expecting their second child in February. The delay will give his wife time to recuperate from childbirth, Currie said, and allow Lindemann a few weeks with the child before he reports for his sentence.
Never miss a local story.
In 2008, Lindemann, 32, claimed a monthly income of $35,700 to qualify for a loan of $979,500 from RBC Centura Bank, court documents show.
His actual income was "much less" than what he claimed, said John Potterfield, the assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted him.
Lindemann later defaulted, and the bank foreclosed on the property.
Lindemann's co-defendant, Michael Keith Hallman, was sentenced to 24 months in prison. Hallman told Lindemann what salary he would need to list on the application to qualify for a loan that large, court records show.
Currie also ordered Lindemann and Hallman to pay restitution of $314,750 and $748,808.40 to RBC Centura Bank.
Hallman's sentence was longer than Lindemann's, Potterfield said, because Hallman had lied on a mortgage application for a Charlotte home by inflating his income before advising Lindemann on the loan on the Tega Cay house.
Lindemann was sued last year by a woman who had invested money in the same Tega Cay house. Lindemann had planned to fix it up and "flip" it for a profit, but the deal soured. The court ordered Lindemann to repay the woman.
First elected in 2006, Lindemann represented Fort Mill on the York County Council for four years. He lost his 2010 bid for re-election, finishing last behind three challengers in the Republican primary.
Lindemann's attorney, Langdon Long, argued in court Monday that the banking industry was partially to blame.
"The wheeler-dealer approach to banking is one factor that allowed this to occur," said Long, a federal public defender.
Lindemann claimed he never had a face-to-face sit down with a mortgage broker about the loan, though, Long added, that's not an excuse.
An FBI agent who investigated the cases said that aside from lying about his income, there was no evidence that Lindemann falsified any other information for the loan documents. As indication of his assets, he included a bank account belonging to his parents on which he was authorized.
While Currie agreed that some fault lies with banks, she said that doesn't excuse what Lindemann and Hallman did.
"When you lie on an application to get a loan you can't afford," she said, "that's exactly a risk you're not entitled to."
Lindemann's wife, pastor and parents asked the court for mercy.
Lindemann choked up at the beginning of his statement to the judge.
He said he's been humbled by the support his family has shown and said he and his family have "gone through enough."
Lindemann declined to comment after his sentencing.
Two Fort Mill men who once employed both Hallman and Lindemann in their Baxter Village finance company, Advantage Financial, also were sentenced Monday.
Thomas Martin Brandenburg and Craig Keith Richards were sentenced to serve 37 months each and to pay more than $1 million each in restitution to victims who gave them money to set aside for "escrow" - which they then spent for personal gain.
Hallman and Lindemann were brought on board to recruit clients. Their charges were unrelated to their work for Advantage Financial.
Brandenburg, who is Hallman's brother-in-law, and Richards falsified loan documents intended to entice prospective clients to do business with them. The two had been mortgage brokers separately before starting Advantage Financial together, Potterfield said.
They used a fictitious lender and had to know how to prepare the documents and ask the right questions of their clients to make their operation seem legitimate in the eyes of lawyers and investors, prosecutors alleged.
Richards disputed having known that the lender was fake, a point Currie said was "highly unlikely."
Currie said she has seen a "fair number of what I call broker fraud cases" recently.
Brandenburg and Richards' case is "one of the most serious," she said, because it involved "lying to a lot of people" - and the victims are suffering as a result.
Fort Mill real estate developer Wink Rea sued Advantage Financial in September 2009, alleging that the group took escrow money intended to help another developer and spent it on personal entertainment and travel.
The lawsuit detailed trips to Miami Beach, where hotel bills were nearly $10,000, a $5,000 bar tab at a club and more than $15,000 in cash withdrawals.
Rea won the suit, and Brandenburg and Richards were ordered to pay more than $500,000 in damages, as well as attorney's fees, which Rea said he hasn't received.
Rea wasn't impressed by the length of the jail terms.
"When I look at the trail of devastation they left, 37 months is nothing," Rea said. "What about the families that lost everything? There are numerous families that were devastated financially.
"I am one of the lucky ones."
Brandenburg, Richards and Hallman will hear from a U.S. marshal regarding when and where to report for their sentences after Jan. 6.
All four men will work while in prison and apply some of their income to paying restitution. Each was sentenced to three years of supervised release after serving their prison time.
At the completion of Hallman's sentencing, the last of the four, Currie offered some comfort to Hallman, who has an otherwise clean record.
"Prison is not nearly as bad as people think it is," she said, citing letters inmates have written her. "There are a lot of opportunities there.
"Go into it with that attitude, and you'll be all right."
Jenny Overman of the Fort Mill Times contributed.