Kevin Lauricella, 29, Thousand Oaks, California, a former Bank of America employee was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for taking more than $1.2 million in bribes to approve artificially low-price short sales of properties on which the bank held mortgages.
Eric Reilly, 34, Galloway, New Jersey, was sentenced to 36 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $3 million in restitution for conspiring to defraud owners of timeshare properties. The defendant would falsely state he was calling owners in response to a complaint they had made to timeshare developers and lenders.
Franklin Thad Harris, 58, and Merlin D. Unruh, 53, both of Grand Junction, Colorado, pled guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Christine M. Arguello to money laundering for submitting false and fraudulent expense documentation, primarily false invoices, which represented various types of construction work that, in fact, had not been completed.
Michael T. Rand, 52, Alpharetta, Georgia, was convicted of obstruction of justice, among other crimes, by a federal jury after a two week trial. Trial evidence showed that after being notified of the federal grand jury’s investigation of Beazer Homes USA, Inc. in March 2007, Rand deleted nearly 6,000 emails, obstructing the grand jury investigation then focused on the separate investigation into mortgage fraud at Beazer.
Karen Strasser Steinke, 65, Millstadt, Illinois, was sentenced to twenty-one months imprisonment followed by three years supervised release as a result of her convictions for Wire Fraud in a scheme to defraud clients of Metro East Title, and Structuring of Financial Transactions to Avoid Currency Transaction Reporting Requirements. Evidence showed that Steinke took the funds to support a gambling habit.
Gregory Fusca, 46, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, was sentenced to 170 months in prison, in connection with his operation of RC Innovations, Inc. (RCI), a fraudulent timeshare company located in Palm Beach County. Among the false representations for which he was sentenced were claims that: RCI had buyers for their timeshare units; RCI had closing scheduled for their timeshares; and that RCI would actively market their timeshares to potential buyers.
HOPE NOW, the voluntary, private sector alliance of mortgage servicers, investors, mortgage insurers and non-profit counselors, released its May 2014 loan modification data. An estimated 37,000 homeowners received permanent, affordable loan modifications from mortgage servicers during the month.
The Castle Law Group, its principals and affiliated foreclosure-related businesses, as well as Aronowitz & Mecklenburg, its principals and affiliated foreclosure-related businesses, are the subjects of civil law enforcement actions for allegedly charging fraudulent and inflated costs for the posting of two statutorily-mandated notices on the homes of borrowers facing foreclosure.
Associate Attorney General Tony West outlined the Justice Department’s approach to resolving the remaining cases related to Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities (RMBS) misconduct that contributed to the financial crisis. West declared that the department would not hesitate to bring litigation against these firms if these principles were not met.
Karl Oreste, 56, Miramar, Florida, pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr., to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349. The defendant and his co-conspirators operated a multi-million dollar straw buyer mortgage fraud scheme.