SAN DIEGO–A 54 year-old Golden Valley, Minnesota man was sentenced to 57 months in custody for lying to banks on a series of business loan applications he used to take almost $500,000.
In addition to punishing Solomon Gordon Raymond, also known as Paul Anthony Raymond, for his fraudulent crimes, U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez increased Raymond’s sentence for the lies he told during testimony at his May 2015 trial. During the hearing, Judge Benitez described the defendant as “one of the worst conmen I have ever seen.” Raymond was taken into custody at today’s sentencing hearing to immediately begin serving his sentence.
Raymond was convicted by a jury of lying on several loan applications he submitted to Wells Fargo Bank, Bank of America, and the Bank of Escondido. Each application contained numerous false statements and omissions regarding Raymond’s financial and business affairs, criminal history, and other aspects of his creditworthiness. Evidence presented at trial established that Raymond was able to trick the banks into believing that he was a good candidate for the loans by strategically using a second social security number that was unmarred by his bad credit history and multiple prior bankruptcy filings. Indeed, even though he had exited bankruptcy just a few months before his first loan application, Raymond falsely claimed to the lender that he had not undergone bankruptcy. Raymond also lied about his criminal history, falsely claiming to the banks that he had never been arrested or convicted of a crime.
Evidence at trial showed that Raymond told extraordinary falsehoods about his finances. For example, he claimed that his income ranged from $308,841 to $543,933; in fact, his true income was only a fraction of these amounts. To support his false claims he submitted fraudulent tax returns that appeared to have been filed with the IRS. At trial, the government proved that the file stamps on these tax returns were completely fabricated, and that the returns had never been submitted to the IRS.
Raymond also submitted forged bank and brokerage account statements to support his Bank of Escondido application, showing balances close to $400,000 in each account. In fact, the balances in these accounts were substantially lower, with one account even having less than $100.
Just three days after Raymond collected the last payment of his nearly half million dollars from his fraudulent loans, he filed for bankruptcy, attempting to wipe away his obligation to repay these loans. Raymond has left the banks and the U.S. Small Business Administration (which guaranteed the loans) with hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses.
“Mr. Raymond’s string of lies and deceptions not only defrauded these banks—they also victimized the taxpayers whose funds are used to support business loans to deserving small businesses. We are pleased that they jury saw through the additional lies he told at trial, and that he was appropriately punished for his misconduct,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy.
U.S. District Judge Benitez also ordered Raymond to repay the victims $729,192 in restitution.