Former Loan Officer Arrested for Straw Buyer Scam

Allison Tussey —  March 27, 2013 — Leave a comment

Alexander A. Romaniolis, 48, Irvine, California, was arrested in Huntington Beach, California, for mortgage fraud relating to an alleged straw buyer scheme. A federal grand jury returned the three-count indictment on March 21, 2013, charging Romaniolis with mail fraud. The indictment was unsealed after his arrest.

The indictment alleges that Romaniolis recruited five straw buyers to purchase eight California residential properties in Rocklin, Roseville, and San Clemente. Romaniolis assisted the straw buyers in providing false information to lenders about their employment, income, assets, and intent to occupy properties as primary residences. In most cases, the straw buyers claimed to be executives of companies created and controlled by Romaniolis.

According to the indictment, Romaniolis was responsible for the origination of more than $5 million in residential mortgage loans in the scheme. All of the properties were foreclosed on, resulting in a total loss of more than $2 million.

If convicted, Romaniolis faces a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced the arrest.

The charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the California Attorney General’s Mortgage Fraud Task Force. The Huntington Beach Police Department assisted in the arrest. Assistant United States Attorney Jean M. Hobler and Special Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey A. Spivak are prosecuting the case.

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Allison Tussey

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