Feds seek life term for mortgage fraud mastermind

Federal prosecutors are seeking a life sentence for the man convicted of orchestrating a $3 billion fraud while running what had been one of the nation's largest private mortgage companies.

Fifty-eight-year-old Lee Farkas of Ocala, Fla., was majority owner of Florida-based Taylor Bean & Whitaker, which collapsed in 2009 when the scheme unraveled. The fraud also contributed to the failure of Alabama-based Colonial bank, which had been one of the country's 25 largest banks.

Sentencing guidelines call for a term of 385 years. In court papers filed Thursday, prosecutors say Farkas should receive the maximum sentence when he is sentenced next week. They say he lived a life of opulence while running one of the largest fraud schemes in U.S. history.

Farkas' lawyer, Bill Cummings, called the government's recommendation excessive.