A Georgia man was sentenced to 20 years in prison Wednesday in a multimillion-dollar mortgage and church grant fraud scheme, authorities said.
Wayne Sherrod Milton, 32, of Stone Mountain, Ga., was sentenced on charges of escape from federal prison, conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud, grant fraud and aggravated assault on a Deputy U.S. Marshal, according to the Justice Department.
Milton, who pleaded guilty to charges in October 2005, will serve 20 years and one month in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release and is ordered to pay $319,856 in restitution.
Milton unlawfully left the federal facility where he was serving time for mortgage fraud to attempt other crimes, including more than $20 million in new mortgage fraud involving dozens of residential properties and a church, according to information presented in court.
While a federal fugitive, Milton also traveled around Georgia and to other states to defraud churches and other faith-based organizations in Florida, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Connecticut and Illinois by promising to deliver more than $200 million in grant funding in exchange for “administrative fees,” authorities said. Milton “delivered” a number of $25 million counterfeit cashiers checks, while using the money collected from the charitable organizations for personal use including travel with his girlfriend to attend the Stella Awards in California.
When located by the U.S. Marshal Service in Pelham, Ga., Milton tried to run over a Deputy U.S. Marshal with his car while fleeing at speeds up to 100 mph through downtown Pelham, around farmyards, down dirt roads and across a cotton field where he was finally apprehended, authorities said.
U.S. Attorney David E. Nahmias said Milton is a “dangerous con man” and that, “This case is aggravated by many factors, including the continued mortgage fraud committed by a defendant already serving a mortgage fraud sentence, his escape from federal custody to commit additional crimes, and his aggravated assault on the Deputy U.S. Marshal trying to arrest him.”
“Also disturbing is the fact that this defendant, who pretended to hold a Bachelors of Theology and a Doctorate of Divinity from Georgia universities and pastored several churches, preyed upon those churches and other faith-based organizations in seven states by fraudulently collecting fees they could not afford to lose,” Nahmias said.