A Bowie lawyer associated with the Metro Dream Homes Ponzi scheme was sentenced Thursday to six months in prison on income tax evasion charges.
Michael Ron Worthy, 45, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt to six months in prison followed by one year of probation for two counts of failing to file an income tax return, the U.S. Attorney’s office announced.
Worthy pleaded guilty on July 7, 2010, to failing to file federal returns for tax years 2006 and 2007. According to his plea, Worthy earned income from his law firm, Williams Worthy LLP; his real estate consulting business, Esquire One; and an investment business, Metro Dream Homes.
Details on Worthy’s involvement in Metro Dream Homes, which prosecutors said scammed more than 1,000 people of $70 million, were scarce. The indictment and all subsequent memos and reports remain sealed.
The company’s pitch was that, for a $50,000 investment and a $5,000 administrative fee, it would pay off the investor’s mortgage within five to seven years. The company said the revenue would come from ATM machine fees, television advertising and self-serve kiosks selling phone calling cards. Instead, money from new investors went to pay existing investors. The money also was used for executives’ six-figure salaries, a fleet of luxury cars and travel to the Super Bowl. Regulators shut the company down in October 2007.
Andrew H. Williams Jr., leader of the Metro Dream Homes scam, was convicted of fraud in November and is set to be sentenced in federal court on March 30. Three other officers were sentenced in February 2011.
Worthy’s July 2010 plea agreement does not call for him to give up his license to practice law. He is still listed as an active member as of Friday and the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission’s website has no mention of any sanctions since his plea bargain.
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