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Federal fraud sentencings postponed

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Mike Heine
January 11, 2008
— The sentencing hearings scheduled for Thursday and today for two men accused of orchestrating a real estate scam were postponed.

James J. Lytle, a 34-year-old former mortgage broker from Lake Geneva, requested the postponement of Thursday’s hearing to “resolve his family affairs,” according to federal court documents.


Lytle is facing a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000 after pleading guilty Oct. 2 to a single count of federal wire fraud.


He was involved in 19 fraudulent sales of 18 Walworth County properties.


He used straw buyers, false identities and forged documents to secure loans. Lytle profited when the loans were secured. Most of the homes, with no real buyer, went into foreclosure when no payments were made.


Sentencing guidelines recommend he spend at least seven years in prison.


Lytle has three children with his estranged wife and two children from a previous relationship, according to an affidavit filed by his attorney Calvin Malone.


Malone could not be reached for comment.


Lytle will be sentenced at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 28.


Martin Valadez, a 31-year-old former Delavan man who was an accomplice of Lytle’s, was originally set to be sentenced today. He will not be sentenced until 10:30 a.m. Thursday, March 13.


Valadez is suspected of acting with Lytle in at least a dozen phony sales of Walworth County properties, according to court records.


There was no reason given in court documents for postponing Valadez’s sentencing. His attorney could not be reached.


Valadez pleaded guilty Oct. 12 to a single count of wire fraud. He also faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000. Sentencing guidelines call for up to seven years in prison for Valadez, as well.


Federal prosecutors wrote letters to the respective judges asking for restitution hearings within 90 days of the sentencing hearings.


As of Jan. 1, the exact amount lost by the banks that unknowingly financing the phony sales has not been ascertained, according to the letters.


“The case agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and personnel from the victim-witness staff at the United States Attorney’s Office have been working diligently to identify the end point lenders and determine the extent of their losses, but need more time to complete this undertaking,” according to a letter from Assistant U.S. Attorney Carol Kraft.



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