Archives For Mortgage Fraud

Robert Pena, 67, the president and founder of the now-defunct mortgage company, Mortgage Security, Inc. (MSI), a Falmouth, Massachusetts mortgage company was indicted on conspiracy and wire fraud charges in connection with and alleged scheme to defraud the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae) out of nearly $3 million.

According to court documents, MSI was contracted with Ginnie Mae to pool eligible residential mortgage loans and then sell Ginnie Mae-backed mortgage bonds to investors.  MSI was responsible for servicing the loans in the pools it created, including collecting principal and interest payments from borrowers, as well as loan payoffs, and placing those funds into accounts held in trust by Ginnie Mae, which would ultimately pass them along to investors.  Among other things, Ginnie Mae required issuers like MSI to provide regular reports to Ginnie Mae concerning the status of the loans in the pools.

According to the indictment, beginning in 2011, Pena began diverting money that borrowers were sending to MSI.  Specifically, he is alleged to have deposited large-dollar, loan-payoff checks into secret accounts unknown to Ginnie Mae and then using those funds for his own personal and business uses.  Pena also diverted borrowers’ escrow funds and mortgage-insurance premiums for his own use.  In total, Pena took nearly $3 million, which Ginnie Mae then had to pay the investors whose investments it had guaranteed.  Pena also attempted to cover up his scheme by providing false reports to Ginnie Mae about the status of the loans MSI was servicing.

The charge of conspiracy provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss.  The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Christina Scaringi, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, Northeast Regional Office; and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office acknowledged the invaluable assistance of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General and the Falmouth Police Department.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Eric P. Christofferson and Brian LaMacchia of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit and Civil Division, respectively.

 

David Tyrone Johnson, 48, Washington, D.C. was indicted on charges that he conspired to commit bank fraud and other crimes arising from a real estate scheme involving a forged mortgage satisfaction document.

Johnson was named in a six-count indictment that was returned on August 9, 2016. He is charged with federal violations of conspiracy, bank fraud, wire fraud, engaging in illegal monetary transactions, and making a false statement, as well as uttering, which is a District of Columbia offense.  The indictment also includes a forfeiture allegation seeking all proceeds that can be traced to the fraud scheme. Johnson pled not guilty to the charges at his first court appearance.

According to the indictment, SunTrust Mortgage, Inc. loaned a friend of Johnson’s approximately $470,000 to purchase residential real estate in the 100 block of 57th Street SE in 2008.  By 2009, the friend had failed to repay the mortgage loans, and in 2010, SunTrust Mortgage filed a notice of foreclosure with the District of Columbia’s Recorder of Deeds. In April 2013, SunTrust Mortgage began the process of foreclosing on the mortgage and taking possession of the property, due to the friend’s failure to make good and timely payments on the mortgage loans.

The indictment alleges that sometime before October 2, 2013, Johnson caused the creation of two phony and forged certificates of satisfaction, which falsely represented that the SunTrust Mortgage loans at the property on 57th Street SE had been paid and that his friend owned the property “free and clear.”  The indictment also alleges that on October 2, 2013, Johnson filed these two phony certificates of satisfaction with the Recorder of Deeds.

In or about December 2013, after the fake certificates of satisfaction allowed the friend to sell the property without paying the outstanding mortgages, the title and escrow company wired out the sales proceeds of $337,105, of which approximately $170,688 was obtained by Johnson.

The indictment, which was unsealed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, was announced by U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips and Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.In announcing the charges, U.S. Attorney Phillips and Assistant Director in Charge Abbate expressed appreciation for the work performed by those who investigated the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office. They also acknowledged the efforts of those working on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including former Paralegal Specialist Corinne Kleinman, Paralegal Specialist Kaitlyn Kruger, Litigation Tech Specialist Ron Royal, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Swanton, who is assisting with forfeiture issues. Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Virginia Cheatham who is prosecuting the case.

Bryan D’Antonio, 50, Brea, California, pled guilty one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud related to his role as the owner and operator of a multi-million dollar fraudulent mortgage modification scheme that posed as a successful law firm to defraud struggling homeowners.  D’Antonio was the owner and operator of Rodis Law Group (RLG) and America’s Law Group (ALG).

D’Antonio pleaded guilty before United States District Judge David O. Carter, who is scheduled to sentence the defendant on January 30, 2017.

D’Antonio admitted that, between October 2008 and June 2009, he participated in a scheme that induced homeowners to pay as much as $5,500 for the services of RLG and its successor entity, ALG. RLG and ALG advertised on radio stations across the country and urging struggling homeowners to call a toll-free number. The companies purportedly consisted of “a team of experienced attorneys” who were “highly skilled in negotiating lower interest rates and even lowering your principal balance.”

In fact, RLG and ALG were telemarketing operations that never had teams of experienced attorneys. During much of the scheme, one man – co-defendant Ronald Rodis – was the only attorney at RLG.

In a plea agreement filed in federal court, D’Antonio admitted that the RLG and ALG schemes fraudulently obtained approximately $9 million from more than 1,500 victims.

D’Antonio was previously convicted of mail and wire fraud and sentenced to four years in federal prison for his participation in a medical billing scheme. He was also subject to a permanent injunction prohibiting him from having any involvement with any business that engaged in telemarketing or misrepresented the services it would provide.  In conjunction with his guilty plea in this case, D’Antonio admitted that he started RLG while he was still on supervised release from his prior conviction. In violation of D’Antonio’s permanent injunction, RLG and ALG sold their services through an extensive telemarketing operation and employees routinely misrepresented the services RLG and ALG would provide. The telemarketers did not disclose to homeowners that RLG and ALG were owned and operated by D’Antonio, who was prohibited from engaging in telemarketing

RLG and ALG telemarketers working for D’Antonio made numerous misrepresentations regarding the companies’ ability to negotiate loan modifications from the homeowners’ mortgage lenders. For example, the telemarketers stated that RLG and ALG had been in business for 11 years when in fact the company had only opened in October 2008. They falsely stated that RLG and ALG routinely obtained positive results for homeowners, including lower monthly payments, reductions in principal balance and lower interest rates. In fact, positive results were rarely achieved for any RLG or ALG clients. Telemarketers also falsely reiterated that homeowners would have a team of attorneys and real estate professionals assigned to their case.

D’Antonio’s co-defendants, Charles Wayne Farris and Ronald Rodis, both previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

D’Antonio preyed on vulnerable victims – struggling homeowners,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Pretending to offer legal assistance to their victims, D’Antonio and his cohorts actually offered nothing but false hopes and empty promises.  Now, he will be held accountable in federal court for the damage he has caused so many victims.”

At the height of the mortgage crisis, this defendant, a convicted felon who was prohibited from any business engaged in telemarketing, created two fake law firms that promised struggling homeowners assistance saving their homes and modifying their mortgages,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Despite the many promises, these were telemarketing sales operations that took homeowners’ money and provided no meaningful assistance.”

The case was investigated by the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph T. McNally and Trial Attorney John W. Burke of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch.

Jamie Hollingsworth and Chris Young were indicted in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina and charged with conspiracy to make false statements on loan applications. The indictment also seeks forfeiture.

According to the indictment:

Hollingsworth, a real estate agent, decided to purchase three separate residential properties on the Isle of Palms, South Carolina.  Young, a mortgage broker and originator, agreed to obtain financing for the purchases.

Hollingsworth falsely stated on the loan application for one of the properties that he intended to use it as his primary residence.  Young falsely stated on the other two applications that Hollingsworth intended to use those properties as his primary residence. They knew these statements were false.

Hollingsworth obtained a first and second mortgage for each of the properties, which Young originated.  Despite the fact that the properties were purchased all at once, Hollingsworth and Young failed to disclosed to each of the financials institutions that Hollingsworth was purchasing two other residential properties at the same time. By failing to disclose the other purchases, they concealed Hollingsworth’s financial liabilities for the other concurrently closing loans.

Hollingsworth arranged for all three of the transactions to close simultaneously on the same day so the financial institutions would not be aware of the concurrent borrowing.  The loans were closed at different law firms.

Soon after closing, Hollingsworth was unable to sell the properties and defaulted on the loans, causing substantial losses to the financial institutions.

Luis Francisco Moreno, Greer, South Carolina, was charged by information in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina and pled guilty to two counts of bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

According to the Information, Moreno was a licensed real estate broker and real estate developer.  Moreno was experiencing financial difficulties in his business ventures.  Moreno was encouraged by Person A, a closing attorney residing in Lexington, North Carolina who is now deceased, to serve as a loan applicant with Wells Fargo Bank, to purchase two pieces of property in North Carolina. Moreno provided materially false information about his assets and income in the loan applications and provided false documents, including bank statements and tax returns.  Moreno also signed false HUD-1 statements. The scheme diverted the loan proceeds from Wells Fargo.

 

Alla Samchuk, 45, Roseville, California, was found guilty in a mortgage fraud scheme involving three properties after a four day jury trial in Sacramento, California.  Samchuk was convicted of six counts of bank fraud, six counts of making a false statement to a financial institution, one count of money laundering, and one count of aggravated identity theft. After the verdict, U.S. District Court Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. ordered Samchuk taken into custody.

According to court documents, from 2006 through 2008, Samchuk, a licensed real estate salesperson, orchestrated a mortgage fraud scheme involving three properties in the Sacramento area using straw buyers. Two of the houses were purchased so that Samchuk herself could occupy them. She lacked the ability to qualify for a loan, so she instead recruited straw buyers to apply for the loans in their names. Samchuk caused the submission of loan applications containing false representations of income, employment, assets, and a false indication that the straw buyers would occupy the homes as their primary residence.

A second objective of the scheme was to obtain HELOC (home equity line of credit) funds. According to evidence at trial, on two of the properties, Samchuk diverted or attempted to divert HELOC funds to her own benefit. Samchuk caused the HELOC loans to fund by submitting false statements and documents to the lender regarding the qualifications of the straw buyers.

The scheme involved two properties in Roseville, California and one in El Dorado Hills, California. In 2007, Samchuk filed an application for a HELOC on one of the properties without the straw buyer’s knowledge or consent. To obtain the HELOC, she forged the signature of the straw buyer on a short form deed of trust that she caused to be notarized and recorded. The stated purpose of the HELOC was home improvement, but once the line of credit was funded, Samchuk quickly diverted all of the funds to her own use, spending the proceeds on a Lexus and the repayment of a substantial personal debt.

Sentencing is set for October 21, 2016. Samchuk faces a maximum of 30 years in prison for each count of bank fraud and false statements to a financial institution, 10 years in prison for money laundering, and two years in prison for aggravated identity theft.

The verdict was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert. This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Audrey B. Hemesath and Andre M. Espinosa are prosecuting the case.

A convicted fraudster who got out of prison early after completing a drug addiction program was sent back for 2½ more years on Tuesday by a judge who said he was addicted to defrauding people.

U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart sent Christopher D. Hales, 35, back to prison for 30 months for violations of his conditions of parole, finding that Hales had violated federal laws in defrauding his own father. Hales was indicted in 2010 on charges of mail, wire and bank fraud, and money laundering. Those charges involved a real estate scam operation that involved the purchase of properties in Lindon in Utah County and the Mill Creek area of Salt Lake County.

Source: Judge says convicted Utah scamster addicted to defrauding others | The Salt Lake Tribune

A Shaler man whose original eight-year sentence was overturned by a federal appeals court was sentenced Monday to six years in prison for his role in a multimillion dollar mortgage fraud scheme. A Pittsburgh federal jury convicted Jason Moreno, 33, on five counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy in September 2013. A former appraiser, Moreno overstated housing values and glossed over problems such as a den of black snakes in one house’s basement so that others in the scheme could obtain loans for more than the properties were worth.

Source: Ex-appraiser sentenced to 6 years for mortgage fraud | TribLIVE

James R. Patterson Jr., a real estate investor, plead guilty for his role in bid-rigging and fraud conspiracies committed at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Georgia.  Patterson admitted that he agreed with other real estate investors to rig auctions of foreclosed homes in Gwinnett County from May 2007 until at least November 2011.  According to court documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Patterson and his co-conspirators agreed not to compete for the purchase of selected foreclosed homes so that they could win the auctions for those homes with artificially low bids.  The winning bidders then paid off the conspirators who had refrained from bidding against them.  As a result, conspirators profited from money that otherwise would have gone to mortgage holders and other secured debt holders and in some cases, to the people who owned the foreclosed homes.

Twenty-two defendants have been charged in connection with the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into bid rigging and fraudulent schemes involving real estate foreclosure auctions in the Atlanta area.  Twenty of those have either pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty.

These charges have been filed as a result of the ongoing investigation being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s Washington Criminal II Section, the FBI’s Atlanta Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Georgia, in connection with the president’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.

A Deschutes County grand jury has indicted two people on several charges in connection with significant mortgage and rental fraud schemes, District Attorney John Hummel said Wednesday.

Mark Franklin Broeg, 59, was arrested Tuesday in Lane County on seven felony counts including racketeering, mortgage fraud, and other theft-related charges, Hummel said in a news release.

A co-defendant in the case is Michelle Marie Anderson, 39, a licensed Realtor with Artisan Realty Group, LLC in Sisters. Anderson, was arrested Wednesday, and is charged with several felony counts of theft of services, attempted aggravated theft, forgery and negotiating a bad check.

Source: Two charged in Deschutes County real estate, mortgage fraud scheme | News – Home