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(Source: Newsday.com)The Long Island mortgage executive who pleaded guilty to bank fraud in the implosion of a $1-billion-a-year lender that led to more than $49 million in losses was sentenced Wednesday to 3 years in prison.

Michael Ashley, 53, of Plainview, also was ordered by Judge Joseph Bianco in federal court in Central Islip to pay $49 million in restitution and forfeit $800,000. Ashley has already forfeited that full amount, the judge noted.

Bianco cited Ashley's cooperation in numerous other prosecutions for the 3-year sentence, and said Ashley did not commit fraud for personal gain, but rather in an effort to cope with his company's losses. Federal law allows for prison sentences of up to 30 years for bank fraud.

"I don't have any concern that you're not truly remorseful," Bianco said to Ashley. "I know you're a changed man."

But, he said, "This was not a small crime, and no matter how it started, it led to $50 million in losses." He also said Ashley bears more responsibility than his co-conspirators since Ashley was in charge of Lend America, the mortgage company that collapsed in 2009.

Bianco said he would allow Ashley to take as long as a year to spend time with his mother while she is treated for stage-four cancer and to arrange for someone else to take over his business affairs.

Ashley’s attorney, Kevin Keating, had asked the judge not to impose a prison sentence. He cited Ashley’s “extraordinary” cooperation in numerous other criminal cases over the last 10 years.

Although the losses caused by Lend America’s collapse were massive, they were caused by the company’s “staggering” expenses and the impact of its own lender’s sudden imposition of much more restrictive standards when the housing crisis hit, Keating said.....