Michael Fiorito, Prior Lake, Minnesota, a mortgage broker, and his assistant, Kristin Louis Jerde, Minneapolis, Minnesota, have been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly bilking vulnerable homeowners. Fiorito, formerly a mortgage broker at American Alliance Mortgage company in Wayzata, Minnesota, and Jerde, who worked as Fiorito’s assistant, were charged with one count of conspiracy, three counts of mail fraud, and one count of engaging in a financial transaction with criminally derived property.
The sealed indictment in this case alleges that from January of 2004 through February of 2007, Fiorito and Jerde schemed to defraud homeowners who were either in foreclosure or behind on their mortgage payments. Specifically, they allegedly caused homeowners to refinance their homes and then stole some or all of the equity checks produced through the refinancing process. In some instances, Fiorito and Jerde also allegedly used physical intimidation to force homeowners to endorse equity checks over to them. In addition, Fiorito and Jerde allegedly induced homeowners to sell them or a third party their homes and then stole the sale proceeds intended for the sellers. The indictment states that during the scheme to defraud, the defendants converted to their own use approximately $160,000.