At this writing, I have no idea how Judge Marie Williams will rule in Tonya Craft's custody case, some things have been established irrefutably: Joal and Sarah Henke conspired with Joal Henke's father to commit federal mortgage fraud, and Joal and Sarah Henke committed perjury. Both are crimes punishable by fines and prison.
Tonya's 30-day trial in Catoosa County established that she was not a child molester or a lawbreaker, but it also is clear that there was a lot of lawbreaking done by those who were accusing her, including the Henkes. Given the state of law in this country, I hardly am surprised when the innocent are charged with crimes while people who DO commit criminal acts are ignored.
I would not be beating this drum loudly if Joal and Sarah had not perjured themselves during Tonya Craft's trial in Catoosa County in an attempt to get Tonya out of the picture permanently with a life sentence. What they did was akin to an attempted murder, and their actions are not the kind of thing that one can or should ignore.
The Henkes and Mortgage Fraud
I first will look at the mortgage fraud, which Joal admitted under oath (although when Joal is under oath, it usually means he is lying). It is not hard to check the records, however, and if his father was the applicant for a VA loan, then we have prima facae evidence of fraud. I begin first with the federal statutes which are draconian:
By extending the federal fraud laws to cover mortgage fraud, FERA also increases the penalties faced by those charged for violating the law. Previously, a conviction for mortgage fraud may have resulted in no more than probation. Now, someone charged with mortgage fraud may face a maximum of 30 years in prison and up to $1 million fine.In Henke's case, this would not be hard to investigate, since the paperwork is easily made available. If Joal's father claimed in the application that he was going to live in the house and then did not live there, he has committed fraud. Furthermore, under federal conspiracy laws, if Joal and Sarah were aware of what was going on, then they also broke federal law.
Additionally, the statute of limitations for bringing a mortgage fraud claim has been extended from 5 years to 10 years, giving the DOJ a much greater opportunity to build a successful case against someone accused of committing the crime.
Tennessee law is not as strict, as the prison sentences run from 3-7 years. However, because the loan in question was a VA loan, most likely this case would be prosecuted by federal authorities.
The Henkes and Perjury
Tennessee law defines perjury in the following way:
...perjury occurs when a person, with intent to deceive:There is more:
• makes a false statement, under oath;
• makes a statement, under oath, that confirms the truth of a false statement previously made and the statement is required or authorized by law to be made under oath; or
• makes a false statement, not under oath, but on an official document required or authorized by law to be made under oath and stating on its face that a false statement is subject to the penalties of perjury. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-16-702 (2007).
"Oath" means a solemn and formal undertaking to tell the truth and includes an equivalent affirmation permitted by law as a substitute for an oath administered by a person authorized by law to take statements under oath. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-16-703 (2007).
Perjury is basically lying under oath or on an official document. It is a Class A misdemeanor under normal circumstances. It is elevated to a Class E felony if committed on an application for a handgun carry permit or on a sexual offender registration form. Perjury can be aggravated under certain circumstances. According to Tennessee law, aggravated perjury (a Class D felony) is perjury plus:
• the false statement is made during or in connection with an official proceeding; and
• the false statement is material. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-16-703 (2007).
"Material" means the statement, irrespective of its admissibility under the rules of evidence, could have affected the course or outcome of the official proceeding. "Official proceeding" means any type of administrative, executive, judicial, or legislative proceeding that is conducted before a public servant authorized by law to take statements under oath in that proceeding. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-16-701 (2007).If the perjury is judged to be simple perjury, then it falls under the category of a misdemeanor in which a person serves a maximum of 11 months, 29 days. However, it the perjury is ruled to be "aggravated perjury" (in which the perjury could determine the outcome of a case), then it is a Class D felony with the following penalties:
The main difference between perjury and aggravated perjury is the importance of the testimony. If the deceptive testimony could affect the outcome of the case, then the offense is aggravated perjury.
Not less than two (2) years nor more than twelve (12) years in prison. In addition, the jury may assess a fine not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000), unless otherwise provided by statuteIn reality, most prosecutors don't bring perjury charges, given that there is so much lying in the courts, but they will bring these charges in certain situations. Certainly in the Tonya Craft case, the perjury was what we call "material," that is, it potentially had an effect on the case's outcome.
We already know that Hamilton County DA Bill Cox is moving Heaven and Earth to prosecute teacher Stacy Swallows, yet Mr. Swallows harmed no one. I wonder, however, if Mr. Cox is going to ignore the felonious behavior that has gone on in the building where he works. My sense is that he will, which would say something about Mr. Cox's priorities.
Joal and Sarah won't have to worry about being prosecuted in Georgia, given that their perjury was suborned by prosecutors Chris "Facebook-Cruisemaster" Arnt and Len "The Man" Gregor. I don't know if they will be prosecuted in Tennessee, either, although any prosecutor who might want to investigate the mortgage fraud and perjury would find low-hanging fruit.