Former Augusta Commission candidate Robert DeMello was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court to 58 months in federal prison.
DeMello, a real estate broker who in 2005 lost a bid for the commission District 1 post to Betty Beard, was indicted two years ago along with property manager Raymond Turner and appraiser William Raulerson on three counts of bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
The indictment said that between 2003 and 2010 DeMello recruited and paid several individuals to serve as straw buyers to purchase Augusta properties – located at 644 Crawford Ave., 1211 and 916 Greene St., and 2570 Lumpkin Road – at inflated values used to obtain mortgage loans from a Waynesboro, Ga., bank.
DeMello and Turner, who according to the indictment obtained fraudulent appraisals of the properties from Raulerson and filed the mortgage applications, were ordered together to pay the bank restitution of $451,656. Turner was sentenced last year to 62 months in federal prison.
According to minutes from his sentencing, DeMello accepted a plea agreement and was sentenced on Count 2 of the indictment, bank fraud. He requested a federal facility and agreed to turn himself in by Saturday.