A Berks County judge ordered six former employees of a jailed mortgage broker to pay restitution of nearly $1.5 million to victims, mostly in Lancaster and Berks Counties, of a $28 million fraud from 2003 through September 2007.
But the state Attorney General's Office, which filed the 2008 consumer-protection lawsuit against Wesley A. Snyder and his Berks County companies that resulted in this month's judgment, responded Friday with a posttrial motion asking Common Pleas Court Judge Albert A. Stallone to enter far larger judgments against the employees.
The Attorney General's Office also asked for reconsideration of other elements of the judge's 57-page decision, entered Dec. 9. The judge denied the state's request for permanent injunctions, civil penalties - which the state pegged at $2.34 million - for Snyder, Snyder's wife, and six employees, and payment of the government's costs for investigation and litigation.
Under Wesley Snyder's scheme, consumers borrowed more than they needed. Snyder took the extra money, promising to invest it in a way that would reduce the borrowers' interest rate by 1 to 1.5 percentage points and cut monthly payments.
The borrowers were told to send their smaller loan payments to Image Masters, a Snyder company that was supposed to take care of monthly payments to the original lenders. Instead, the money was used to support a Ponzi scheme, prosecutors said.
Wesley Snyder's companies went bankrupt in September 2007, after the scheme collapsed in the early stages of the financial crisis. He pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud the next year and is serving a 12-year prison term.
Stallone ruled, after a nonjury trial that included 109 witnesses, that Wesley and his wife were liable for $28.7 million in restitution, but he made the mortgage consultants responsible for 5 percent of the consumer losses.
In declining to issue a permanent injunction against Snyder's former employees that would have prevented them from ever again engaging in the mortgage business in Pennsylvania, Stallone wrote that the injunction was limited in time to enable the defendants to get jobs "that will allow them to pay the restitution."