Tony Viola proved his innocence at trial yet still went to jail. He was indicted three times and tried twice by a joint federal-state mortgage fraud task force — once in federal court and once in state court — on the exact same charges. When a whistleblower inside the prosecutor's office gave Viola evidence hidden before his first trial, he used it to win the second trial. Even though he proved his innocence after a six-week trial, he remained imprisoned until earlier this month when he was finally released. Viola joined guest host Richard Syrett (Twitter) in the first half of the program for a discussion about his mortgage fraud case and suspicions about other mortgage fraud cases.
Viola outlined events leading up to the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007, when he was running his own real estate brokerage firm. "The banks figured out how to separate the risk of making a loan from making a loan," Viola explained. They would make a risky loan, sell it, then make another risky loan, he added. According to Viola, his offices were raided by the FBI who were looking for mortgage files after an informant claimed Viola owned mortgage companies (he did not) making fraudulent loans. The government accused Viola of orchestrating the nation's largest mortgage fraud scheme and stealing $46 million.
They decided not to prosecute the people who were actually responsible for making the bad mortgages and instead went after people who they said "tricked the banks," Viola continued. The banks were reckless but money needed to continue flowing so the government went after people who had nothing to do with loan origination or reselling of loans, he added. "Recently the justice department admitted making false statements about evidence in my case... the FBI is also going to make a similar filing in court that they made false statements about evidence," Viola revealed. These new filings allowed Viola to be released about two years early from his federal sentence.
During Friday night's Open Lines, Richard offered a special topic line for callers to share stories of remarkable synchronicities. Martha from San Antonio, Texas, talked about two Grammy award-winning musicians who live in her city, George Strait and Flaco Jiménez. Both musicians welcomed daughters in 1972 and both of the girls died in tragic car accidents near their fathers, she continued. Martha revealed she had two sons who also died: one on January 24, 1999, which was Rosalinda Jiménez's last birthday, and her eldest on July 2 or 7/2 - the same year George Strait's and Flaco Jiménez's daughters were born.
Mike in Denver told Richard about the day Lee Harvey Oswald was shot and killed. Right before he was assassinated Oswald asked to get a sweater because it was cold outside, Mike reported. That few minutes could have been the difference between living and dying that day for Oswald. "If they would have brought him through the area to the waiting police car about five to ten minutes earlier, Jack Ruby wouldn't have even been in that area" Mike speculated.
Diana from Oahu, Hawaii recounted a past trip through Europe, where she hiked through the Black Forest in Germany and got lost trying to find a hospital. She ran into a couple of travelers in the forest also looking for the same hospital, and when they all found it Diana realized she had dropped her purse somewhere in the forest. According to Diana, she went back into the forest to locate her lost purse, was soon mesmerized by a triangular shape in the sky, and blacked out. She recalled awakening at the hospital many hours later. Diana later found out the area was famous for a Nazi UFO sighting in 1936, which has led her to believe she was abducted.