Between 1998 and 2007 Schelton worked as an investment banker with J.P. Morgan Chase after graduating from Harvard Business School. While at JPMorgan, Schelton began investing in small real estate development projects in Brooklyn.
As word of his success spread, Schelton’s former classmates and friends asked if he would assist them in finding properties to purchase.
In 2008, Schelton was introduced to a real estate attorney named Wally Duval who advised him that his friends could get better financing terms if their mortgage applications stated that they would live at the premises.
Around 2013, the government began an investigation of Wally Duval and her network. Therefore, because Schelton had used her for a few closings, the Government thought that he was involved in a large scale fraud that she was allegedly running. However, after a thorough (5) year investigation, the Government realized that in an attempt to assist his friends, Schelton exercised poor judgment but was never involved in the large scale fraud that Government was investigating.
In order to resolve the charges against him, Schelton pled guilty to one (1) count of wire fraud in connection with the making of the false statements regarding owner-occupiers versus investors.
On May 16, 2018 the Court sentenced Schelton to time served (consisting of the four (4) hours from his arrest to the time bail was posted for him) and two (2) years of supervision. No restitution was imposed as part of his sentence nor was he barred from the real estate industry. A nominal administrative fine of $5,000 was imposed.
Recognizing the unique facts of this case, Judge Brian Cogen, in a rare statement for a Federal Judge, explained the sentence he was imposing by saying: “I think this defendant is not a particularly venal or malicious person. I am not seeing that…I think Mr. Assoumou understands what it means to be honest’’.
Clearly, the sentence imposed by the Court reflected the Judge’s feeling that to the extent Schelton acted improperly it was an aberration which would not be repeated.