A Colorado man was sentenced Friday to 101 years in prison and $37 million in restitution for his involvement in a mortgage fraud case, media reports said.

Gerald P. Small III, 43, of Broomfield, Colo., was arrested a year ago for his part in a scheme to obtain hundreds of millions of dollars in bogus mortgages and multimillion-dollar lines of credit, authorities told the Denver Business Journal.

Small and five others were indicted in the case, reports said.

The case involved falsifying documents that were submitted through Small’s company, Amerifunding of Westminster, and another company he controlled, 20th Century Mortgage Inc., reports said.

The plea agreement shows that Small and his associates at Amerifunding placed help-wanted ads in a Denver newspaper in which salaries of more than $100,000 were promised, reports said. The ads were a way to obtain an applicants’ personal identification information in order to get the fraudulent mortgage loans, according to reports.

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and the FBI, reports said. During the investigation, prosecutors seized assets of Small and his associates, including 15 homes in Nevada and Colorado, a 2004 Jaguar, a 2003 Lexus and more than $8 million in cash or bank accounts, according to reports.

Others involved in the case are Kelli Small, Gerald Small’s wife, who was placed on probation for five years and ordered to perform 160 hours of community service; Robert Bichon, who was sentenced to 35 months in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution of $2.3 million, and Robert Sigg, who was sentenced to time served and ordered to pay restitution of $141,163.

Also, Charles Winnett, who was given a 51-month sentence and ordered to pay restitution of $35 million; and Chad Heinrich, who was sentenced to 28 months in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution of $35 million, were involved, the Business Journal reported.

Some of the restitution orders are joint and involve multiple defendants, reports said.

Another man, Harry Lou Gayle, 50, of Highlands Ranch, Colo., was arrested in February on a charge of filing a false tax return for 2002, reports said. Authorities said Gayle, an employee of Gerald Small’s, received $44,000 for signing four false loan applications, but didn’t report the money on his tax return. He has entered a guilty plea and is scheduled to be sentenced in June, according to reports.


Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to janis@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 140.

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