Sentenced to nearly six years in prison for bilking Orange County homebuyers out of millions of dollars by selling illegally converted condominiums, that was the fate of former real estate agent recieved. Phil Benson, 73 was also ordered to pay nearly $680,000 in restitution to Stewart Title, which insured the condo sales.
Benson, who is battling cancer, missed an earlier sentencing hearing, saying he was too ill to travel from his home in Hayden, Idaho. He arrived at U.S. District Court in Santa Ana Friday in a wheelchair and was breathing with the aid of an oxygen tube.
He pleaded guilty last year to 24 counts of fraud for helping sell 47 apartment units as condominiums for $11.2 million dollars. Benson's scheme attempted to circumvent a 1984 city law requiring apartment owners to modify their properties and pay a seven thousand dollar conversion fee before the units could be sold.
The judge said he wanted to give Benson time to complete a round of chemotherapy. Judge David O. Carter gave Benson a reprieve until April 11th to begin his 70-month sentence.
Also pleaded Guilty from fraud charges and will be sentenced later this year is Former Huntington Beach Mayor Pamela Houchen.
By: Dijon Wainwright