Peter James Porcelli, II, 57, Pinellas County, Florida, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew to 10 years in federal prison for mail fraud. As part of Porcelli‘s sentence, the Court entered a money judgment for $1.8 million, an amount equal to proceeds from the fraud. Porcelli had pleaded guilty on April 15, 2010.
According to court documents, Porcelli was a Florida-licensed mortgage lender with his company, Silverstone Lending. Through court lists, Porcelli found people whose homes were falling into foreclosure. Posing as “Peter James,” a “Relief Coordinator” for the “nonprofit” Safe Harbour Foundation, Porcelli mailed the homeowners flyers about Safe Harbour. The flyers made it appear that Safe Harbour was there to save the homeowners in their hour of need. When homeowners responded to the flyers, however, “Peter James” referred them to Peter Porcelli at Silverstone Lending, who lent them high-fee, highinterest, short-term balloon payment loans. The fees for Porcelli‘s loans averaged approximately 60% of the total amount of each loan, and the interest on the loans was as high as 260.18% APR. The loans generally came due in six months.
Many victims lost their homes when they could not repay Porcelli‘s loans, including one victim who became homeless as a result of the offense.
U.S. Attorney Robert E. O’Neill announced the sentence.
This case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas N. Palermo.
This case was charged as part of the Middle District of Florida’s Mortgage Fraud Surge, a joint effort by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, the FBI, and numerous other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The Surge, which culminated on November 2, 2009, focused intensive investigative and prosecutorial resources on the mortgage fraud crisis that plagues middle Florida and has contributed to the current economic situation nationwide. The Surge accelerated mortgage fraud cases to bring perpetrators to justice quickly and provide maximum deterrence. It was the first step in the Middle District of Florida’s Mortgage Fraud Initiative, an ongoing effort to prosecute mortgage fraud of all types throughout the district.