Judge exceeds sentence guidelines for Minn. broker

Published 10:05 am Friday, April 30, 2010

A federal judge has exceeded federal sentencing guidelines in sentencing a Prior Lake mortgage broker to nearly 23 years in prison as he blasted him for dishonesty and refusal to accept responsibility for defrauding struggling homeowners.

A jury convicted Michael Fiorito last May on mail fraud and conspiracy charges. The Minnesota U.S. Attorney’s office Fiorito convinced struggling homeowners to refinance or sell him their homes, then stole the profits.

Judge Patrick Schiltz says it was the first time he varied upward from sentencing guidelines but says it was to protect the public because “I have no doubt that upon his release from prison, Mr. Fiorito will return to victimize others.” The judge said Fiorito “spent most of his life lying and stealing.”

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Fiorito represented himself and was in custody Thursday and unavailable for comment. In court papers, he argued for a lesser sentence.