Attorney Sentenced in Straw Buyer Down Payment Scheme

Rachel Dollar —  October 5, 2015 — Leave a comment

Christopher Brecciano, 37, of Stamford, Connecticut was sentenced  to 14 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release, for conspiring to defraud financial institutions through an extensive mortgage fraud scheme that involved dozens of properties in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

According to court documents and statements made in court, between 2006 and 2010, Brecciano, while working as an associate at a Stamford law firm, participated in mortgage fraud conspiracy that involved the purchase of numerous single and multi-family properties, primarily in Bridgeport, Norwalk and Stamford, Connecticut. Brecciano acted as a closing attorney for at least 50 mortgage loan transactions in which materially false information was provided to mortgage lenders by Brecciano or his co-conspirators. The fraudulent information included false verifications of down payments for real estate transactions, false deeds, and false HUD-1 Forms. In many of the transactions, Brecciano knew that the borrower was a “straw buyer,” and that other individuals intended to control the property and collect rent from the property. In many transactions, Brecciano distributed mortgage loan funds to the straw buyer and other co-conspirators at the closing.

Many of these properties ended up in foreclosure, or in short sale transactions. Brecciano also was involved in many short sale transactions in which he knew that the buyer and seller were working together to retain control of the property while representing to the lender that the sale was an arm’s length transaction.

Through this scheme, lenders suffered losses of more than $8 million.

Brecciano was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $8,406,638.

On February 12, 2014, Brecciano pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.

The sentenced was handed down by Chief U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall,  The investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General. The criminal case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Heather Cherry and Avi Perry, and the parallel civil forfeiture cases are being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie G. Turbert.

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Rachel Dollar

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