Court of appeals grants motion to review prosecutors' misuse of $15 million in crime victim funds
The United States Court of Appeals granted Tony Viola's request to consider documents proving prosecutors spent $15 million in funds collected on behalf of crime victims on personal and office expenses, Case # 18-1757, 3rd Circuit.
Federal and state prosecutors in Northeast Ohio charged nearly 1,000 citizens with "mortgage fraud" and alleged realtors, property sellers and other parties to real estate transactions duped banks like JP Morgan into making "no money down" mortgage loans. Prosecutors collected over $15 million from defendants on behalf of banks, but never remitted ANY funds to victims listed on restitution orders. Instead, prosecutors used restitution to reimburse themselves for personal expenses, purchase airline tickets, pay for hotel rooms and provide undisclosed payments to government witnesses who testified at mortgage fraud trials, including Kathryn Clover.
An investigation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau concluded that no bank in Tony's case has ever received one penny of restitution. The Ohio Auditor's Special Investigations Unit recently referred the misuse of crime victim funds to the Cuyahoga County Inspector General for an audit. Now, the Court of Appeals ruled that it will consider these documents in Tony's case, along with his claim that he is wrongfully imprisoned because he proved his innocence at a second trial yet remains in jail.
For additional information:
- Contact Cheryl Gray, Ohio Auditor's Special Investigations Unit, (614) 728-7268.
Consult the federal court's PACER system to read the court order or Tony's filings, Viola v. Warden, Case # 18-1757, Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Philadelphia.