Prison for swindler who cost Md. woman, 66, her home

A Maryland man has been sentenced to eight years in prison after he swindled a longtime public school aide out of her money by promising to get her a more affordable mortgage payment — for a home she eventually lost.

Patricia Duckett, 66, was making plans to retire when her hairdresser told her William Wayland could help save her some money.

“Ms. Duckett did nothing wrong,” said Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy. “She just sought to reduce her mortgage payments, and she entrusted someone who swindled her out of her hard-earned money.”

Wayland told Duckett he could get her loan modified to lower her monthly mortgage payments. To accomplish that, he told her to stop paying the mortgage, give him any letters from the bank and pay him over $7,000.

When Duckett began receiving foreclosure notices, Wayland assured her he was working with the mortgage companies. Eventually, Wayland lost her home.

“If you come after our seniors, we will come after you,” Braveboy said.

“For someone to callously take something that was so precious — it is our job to seek justice,” Braveboy said.

Wayland was convicted last month on charges of theft, not providing a contract, and taking money before rendering services. He was sentenced Friday.

Duckett was present at the sentencing. She is living with a family member.

“True justice would be for Ms. Duckett to have her home back,” said Braveboy. “True justice would be for her to never have been swindled in the first place, but what we can deliver is accountability.”

Assistant State’s Attorney Drew Grigg said Wayland was not a first-time offender — a judge in a civil case in Baltimore had ordered him not to give mortgage advice.

LaShawn Sidbury, Duckett’s daughter-in-law, had stern words for those who would exploit vulnerable seniors: “It’s not right. Enough is enough. Stop it.”

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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