"Who are you, sir?"
That was how circuit Judge Mark Jones responded to a Jacksonville man he sentenced to seven years in prison on Wednesday, after he was convicted of stealing more than a million dollars in an elaborate mortgage fraud enterprise.
Jones also ordered Anis Said Gebrael, who went by the name "Mike Sandrie," among other aliases, to pay back $1.1 million to PNC Bank in monthly installments while serving 23 years' probation upon his release.
Gebrael was convicted Oct. 18 of first-degree felony grand theft of more than $100,000 for stealing other people's identities -- and credit -- to fraudulently obtain mortgages on seven properties in the Florida Keys.
Jones raised his voice to challenge Gebrael's assertion that he was an otherwise legal businessman and that his conviction was out of character.
Gebrael represented himself throughout his trial and sentencing hearing, and announced he would not need a lawyer for his appeal.
"Sir, you've done everything to hide who you are and block basic information that would be used to identify you," Jones said loudly, referring to not only Gebrael's use of cover names, but also his refusal to fill out a Department of Corrections presentence investigative report.
Gebrael unsuccessfully tried to convince the jury at trial that the government arrested the wrong man.
Jones characterized Gebrael's scheme as crafty, calculating, systematic, intelligent, clear, dishonest and carefully conceived. The judge refuted some of Gebrael's claims that he was confused by the litigation and that he didn't mean to anger Jones.
"As far as me being angry with you, I beg to differ," Jones said. "To the extent that I find your tactics to be difficult and so often contrary to reality, don't think for a minute that justice in this case was administered out of anger."
Jones went on to say that he "didn't buy for a minute," Gebrael's claims that he didn't understand the litigation or that he was otherwise innocent.
Monroe County Assistant State Attorney Mark Wilson described Gebrael as a "confidence man" who dealt with Keys people and properties for more than 20 years before he was caught and arrested on July 24, 2012, and extradited to Monroe County.
His arrest came after more than a year of investigating what authorities called a complicated loan fraud scheme. Gebrael portrayed himself to victims as "a highly successful developer and financier who was a world traveller," according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrest warrants.
Gebrael's accomplice, Rose Marie Sandrie, 63, also of Jacksonville, took a plea agreement on Feb. 7 that called for her to testify against Gebrael, as well as serve seven month in the Monroe County jail and 10 years' probation.
In a telling piece of testimony at trial, Sandrie testified she and Gebrael lived together for 20 years, and she thought his name was Mike Gebrael.
"I would say that his ability to keep a fictitious identity for as long as he did -- for more than a decade -- is a testament to his persuasiveness," Wilson told Jones at sentencing.
Sandrie and Gebrael reportedly earned more than $1 million on fraudulent activities over a five-year period, according to court and investigative documents. The pair operated two companies in the Florida Keys, Sunshine Title Insurance Co. and Loansource Mortgage, from 1999 to 2008.
According to court documents, Gebrael allegedly submitted fraudulent documents, including fake appraisals and forged notary information, in what a State Attorney Office investigator likened at the time of their arrest to a "Ponzi scheme with mortgages."
In one case, the two are accused of taking out $2.5 million in fraudulent mortgages from one victim, records state. The victim, who formerly worked for the suspects in Jacksonville, realized something was wrong when he tried to obtain an automobile loan but was refused because of the outstanding debt.
In all, the couple allegedly took out first and second mortgages on seven homes in Key West and Marathon between 2002 and 2007, according to court documents.
They also reportedly made money off finance charges and other fees for handling the loans.