Contractor denied sentence cut in fraud

Scott and Heather Fawcett

Scott and Heather Fawcett

A federal judge has denied an East Naples contractor’s attempt at reducing his federal prison term, ruling a six-month reduction he received this month was all he’d get.

In an order Tuesday, U.S. District Judge John Steele pointed out that when federal prosecutors sought a two-level reduction, 27 to 33 months, for Scott Fawcett, it was a mathematical error the defense didn’t notice.

Steele said Fawcett, 30, who was sentenced last year to 41 months, was only entitled to a range of 33 to 41 months and he’d corrected the mistaken sentence July 11.

Defense attorney Michael McDonnell had argued Fawcett provided “substantial assistance” to the prosecution when he testified against Debra Landberg, 44, a former vice president of Wachovia bank in East Naples acquitted of mortgage fraud charges in May.

Last year, as part of a plea deal that protected his wife, Heather, Fawcett admitted filing bogus paperwork so they could obtain $3.349 million in loans for six homes; he must repay lenders for a $1.485 million loss.

Landberg, who lost her job after 22 years, had maintained her innocence and Steele and U.S. Magistrate Douglas Frazier both rejected plea deals negotiated by her former attorney and prosecutor.

She then hired defense attorney Lee Hollander, who won an acquittal. He showed Fawcett gave her several accurate verifications of deposit “lulling her into a false sense of security.” Fawcett also gave her deposit slips showing he’d moved a large amount of money into an account or was about to. She admitted not verifying their accounts because he was a trusted bank customer.

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