Kenneth Law, an attorney who was convicted of participating in a $100 million mortgage fraud, has won a sentence reduction from the Appellate Division, First Department. Law was sentenced in 2010 by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Carol Berkman (See Profile) to five to 15 years after being convicted by a jury of enterprise corruption, scheme to defraud, conspiracy and grand larceny. Yesterday, the First Department reduced his aggregate sentence to three to nine years "in the interest of justice," saying the original sentence was "excessive."
Law was one of 13 people indicted in 2009 in connection to the scheme. According to the indictment, Garden City mortgage brokerage firm AFG Financial Group bilked lenders, including Countrywide Home Loans and WaMu Long Beach, out of at least $102 million by setting up fictitious real estate purchases (NYLJ, July 9, 2009). Law was hired to represent the sham buyers and sellers in the transactions. AFG principal Eric Shields, who was tried along with Law, was sentenced to 51/2 to 161/2 years. The First Department panel declined to reduce Shields' sentence. The panel also rejected the defendants' arguments that they were denied the right to a fair trial because of limits on cross-examination.
"In this lengthy, multidefendant trial, the court properly exercised its discretion when it imposed reasonable limits on cross-examination," the panel said in People v. Shields, 3578/09. "Defendants were not deprived of their rights to present a defense and to confront witnesses." The panel also found "no support for the claim that the People introduced evidence that they knew or should have known was false."