Archives For Appraiser

Louis Marandola, 41, attorney, Providence, Rhode Island; Brian R. McCaffrey, 38, licensed loan originator, East Greenwich, Rhode Island; Raffaele M. Marziale, 41, former loan officer, Bristol, Rhode Island; Lauren Sienko, 33, loan processor, Rehoboth, Massachusetts; Gina M. Ronci Mohamed, 45, licensed real estate agent, Lincoln, Rhode Island; and Edwin Rodriguez, 35,  real estate investor, Pawtucket, Rhode Island, were charged in a 22-count federal grand jury indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court in Providence, Rhode Island with allegedly participating in a conspiracy to obtain money they were not entitled to from financial institutions and individuals through mortgage loans, residential property sales and fees. Continue Reading…

Franchesco Franco, 34, a former mortgage loan originator, Providence, Rhode Island, pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to commit bank fraud for his participation with a local real estate attorney and others in a scheme to defraud Flagstar Bank, by filing a fraudulent mortgage loan application and supporting documentation in the name of a person known to him who had recently died, in order to secure a loan in the amount of $157,102 for the purchase of a residence at 63 Wendell Street, Providence, Rhode Island.

According to court documents, after the mortgage was issued, Franco filed fraudulent documents in the deceased person’s name in order to have his own name added to the deed for the property. Loan payments were never made to Flagstar Bank, an FHA-insured lender, by Franco or anyone else. As a result, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) paid an insurance claim to Flagstar Bank for the unpaid balance of the loan in the amount of $165,062. According to court documents, a corporation formed by the real estate attorney, an alleged co-conspirator in this matter, later purchased the note for $35,000. Continue Reading…

Mark E. Greenlee, 50, Charleston, North Carolina, a former West Virginia licensed real estate appraiser, was sentenced for preparing a false and fraudulent appraisal in 2006 in furtherance of a multi-million-dollar mortgage fraud scheme perpetrated by Deborah L. Joyce and others in the Stonegate subdivision in Hurricane, Putnam County, West Virginia.

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Joel Reck, 47, McKeesport, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Nora Barry Fischer for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme.

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Lavon Ruderson, 42, Cleveland, Ohio, an appraiser, was convicted on 16 counts related to a $3.25 million mortgage fraud involving dozens of properties in Northeast Ohio.

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James J. Goldberg, who did business as JJG Real Estate Appraisal Services (“Goldberg“), and Robert Micheline, who did business as P&M Appraisals (“Continue Reading...

Below are brief summaries of some of the significant mortgage fraud cases in California brought since June 18, 2010:

United States v. David Crisp, et al. The indictment alleges that, from approximately January 2004 to September 2007, the defendants operated real estate businesses in Kern County through which they submitted fraudulent loan applications

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Richard Lawrence Veazey, 53, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of wire fraud conspiracy in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme.  The defendant pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Veazey, who was an appraiser,

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Ryan Daryl Krutzig, 31, Maple Grove, Minnesota, a real estate appraiser, and Jesse Scott Hoffman, 32, St. Cloud, Minnesota, a real estate agent, were indicted in connection with a $1.8 million mortgage fraud scheme that involved 28 properties. The defendants were charged with five counts of wire fraud in connection to the scam. In addition, Continue Reading...

Michael Pahutski, 48, Gastonia, North Carolina, was sentenced to 19 years imprisonment to be followed by five years of supervised release. Pahutski was also ordered to perform 200 hours of community service and pay restitution of approximately $3.5 million.  As previously

Michael Pahutski, 48, Gastonia, North Carolina, was sentenced to 19 years imprisonment to be followed by five years of supervised release. Pahutski was also ordered to perform 200 hours of community service and pay restitution of approximately $3.5 million.  As previously reported by Mortgage Fraud Blog, Pahutski pled guilty prior to trial, without the benefit of a plea agreement, to all twenty-one counts in the indictment then pending against him. 

The sentence is the latest step in an ongoing investigation of mortgage fraud schemes carried out around the Charlotte, North Carolina area, which led to the charging of eight individuals with mail, wire and bank fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, and related charges in March 2008. The investigation also resulted in the trial of closing attorney and co-defendant Victoria Sprouse in March 2009.

A federal indictment charging Michael Pahutski with mortgage fraud-related offenses, was originally filed in August 2007, followed by a superseding indictment adding charges and five other defendants in March 2008. To date, all six of those defendants have been either convicted at trial or have entered pleas of guilty. The charges represent the results of a local investigation which stemmed from the detection of an original mortgage fraud scheme in September 2002, and focused on a group operating in and around the Charlotte area.

The indictment alleged, and the evidence presented at the sentencing hearing and elsewhere, showed that all the defendants participated in a series of mortgage fraud schemes involving more than $20 million in mortgage loans and hundreds of houses in Charlotte-area neighborhoods. The defendants included Pahutski who served as a loan officer, as well as a closing attorney, a real estate appraiser, another mortgage broker, and two real estate agents. The indictment also identified two other attorneys, three home builders (including one national homebuilder), and several real estate investors as co-conspirators in these schemes. One of the banks victimized by the schemes closed its doors in mid-2007 after 103 years of business in large part due to the scheme.

The indictment alleged that Pahutski participated in a “flip” mortgage fraud scheme where houses were purchased through fraudulent mortgage applications and use of other false documents. Pahutski was originally indicted in this case in connection with a scheme involving closing attorney Victoria Sprouse and real estate investor Stephen Hawfield, in which approximately 210 houses were purchased in a “flip scheme” through fraudulent mortgage applications to nBank for more than $15 million.

U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger pronounced the 19 year sentence. In doing so, Judge Reidinger explained that he hoped others would note the sentence, and “see that they do not want to become mortgage fraudsters.” The Judge noted that the offense had caused substantial damage to nBank, which failed, and also had caused substantial damage to our financial system. Judge Reidinger said that the heavy sentence was based in part on the fact that Pahutski had been entrusted by the state of North Carolina with a license, and “was supposed to have been part of the firewall to prevent this [mortgage fraud] from happening, but instead became part of the problem.” Following the sentencing hearing, Judge Reidinger ordered that Pahutski be immediately taken into custody and detained as a flight risk.

Michael D. Pahutski, 48, Charlotte, NC,  a Loan Officer, Guilty plea entered 3/3/09 Sentenced 5/6/11 to 228 months imprisonment to be followed by a five-year term of supervised release, 200 hours of community service, and ordered to pay $3,563,125.27 in restitution.

Victoria L. Sprouse, 40, Charlotte, NC, a Closing Attorney, Jury trial 3/23/09 – 4/1/09, Guilty verdict by jury 4/1/09, Awaiting sentencing.

Michael Gee, 61, Hilton Head, SC, an Appraiser, Guilty plea entered 3/10/2009, Sentenced 6/24/10 to 24 months imprisonment to be followed by a three-year term of supervised release and ordered to pay $3,563,125.27 in restitution

Gregory A. Mascaro, 44, Harrisburg, NC, a Real Estate Agent, Guilty plea entered 6/9/08, Sentenced 2/27/09 to 24 months imprisonment to be followed by a three-year term of supervised release and ordered to pay $62,361.21 in restitution.

Jules Springs, 43, Charlotte, NC, a Loan Officer, Guilty plea entered 7/7/08, Sentenced 5/19/09 to 24 months imprisonment to be followed by a three-year term of supervised release and ordered to pay $62,361.21 in restitution.

Gregory D. Rankin, 36, Charlotte, NC, a Real Estate Agent, Guilty plea entered 6/25/08, Sentenced 2/27/09 to five years probation, first 23 months under home confinement.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina announced the sentence.

Joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office in making the announcement are Jeannine Hammett, Special Agent in Charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation Division; Chris Briese, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Charlotte Division; Inspector In Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Keith Fixel; and Wayne Goodwin, Commissioner, North Carolina Department of Insurance.

The case was investigated by Special Agents of the FBI, Charlotte, Special Agents of the IRS-CI, U.S. Postal Inspectors, and criminal investigative personnel of the NC Insurance Commission. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kurt W. Meyers and Jenny Sugar of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Criminal Division, Charlotte, NC, as well as former Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Martens.