A Ramsey man was sentenced today to more than three years and fined $55,000 for filing false documents in the business of redeeming foreclosed properties to snatch their equity.

Michael R. Wayman Jr. also faces a future hearing to set the amount of restitution he and his company, C&M Real Estate Services, owe on the seven property transactions that led to his May 20 conviction for racketeering and multiple counts of perjury and filing false documents.

"There are hundreds, if not thousands, of homeowners that have been approached by this guy in the metro area, and more by similar fraudsters," said John Villerius, a Hennepin County employee who previously managed foreclosures and blew the whistle on Wayman. County officials also argued that Wayman's filing of false documents undermines the integrity of the public land records system.

Hennepin County Judge Warren Sagstuen sentenced Wayman to less prison time that sought by Assistant County Attorney Tom Fabel. Sagstuen said he departed from sentencing guidelines because thought Wayman's case was less onerous than some other racketeering cases. Fabel argued for a sentence of more than seven years as a deterrent to others.

Wayman obtained the rights to acquire properties with substantial equity by bidding on them at sheriff foreclosure sales or acquiring junior debts against the property. That gave him the right under state law to buy out more senior creditors and claim the property. Or if he was bought out by a more junior creditor, he could claim expenses that were padded.

According to county officials, Wayman redeemed at least one property from foreclosure even after he was convicted by Sagstuen.

The 37-month sentence Sagstuen imposed was the longest of eight concurrent prison terms he gave Wayman, 35. With time credited for good behavior, he could be released after a prison term of just over two years, followed by another year of supervision.

Wayman last year was sentenced in Anoka County on a felony charge of filing a false document. He was given three years of probation with a $2,500 fine stayed for that period if he had no similar infractions. Because the Hennepin County charges result from incidents that occurred before his Anoka County guilty plea, he'll not face a probation revocation, attorneys said.

"I did not intentionally try to harm anybody," said Wayman, who sobbed at times as family and friends testified to his character. "Everything we worked for in the last 10 years is gone. We can't do anything in real estate. We've been blackballed."

Steve Brandt • 612-673-4438