Archives For condo conversion

Marco Laureti, 45, Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, and Felix Mostelac, 44, Miami Beach, Florida, were charged by Indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution, and multiple counts of wire fraud affecting a financial institution. Michelle Cabrera, 48, Miami Lakes, Florida, and Pedro Melian, 39, Hialeah, Florida, were charged by criminal Information with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution. If convicted, each defendant faces up to thirty years’ imprisonment on each charged count.

According to court documents, defendants Laureti, Mostelac, Cabrera and Melian were involved with a $10 million mortgage fraud scheme. Laureti was a former newspaper publisher and owner of Laureti Publishing Company, in addition to being a licensed real estate sales associate and mortgage broker. Mostelac was Laureti’s associate and also the owner of several companies. Cabrera owned Florida Elite Title & Escrow in Davie, Florida, and served as the title agent for these transactions. Melian also owned several companies.

According to court documents, the defendants engaged in a fraud scheme involving a condominium complex located at 45 Hendricks Isle, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Defendants Laureti, Mostelac and Melian made false and fraudulent statements to a financial institution on loan applications and closing statements for the multi-million dollar condominiums. Once the loans were approved, defendant Cabrera, at Laureti’s direction, diverted the loan proceeds to fund the cash the borrower was expected to bring to the property’s closing, as well as diverting additional monies from the loan proceeds to various companies owned by Laureti and Mostelac. Furthermore, according to court documents, Laureti and Mostelac utilized the same scheme on the loan applications and closing statements to purchase their own multi-million dollar residential properties in Miami Beach, in addition to Laureti directing Cabrera to divert funds. The defendants’ scheme defrauded the financial institution of approximately $10 million.

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy Katz.

Orlando Ortiz, 53, Luis Enrique Tur, 47, Jeffrey Todd Canfield, 49, Rafael Amador, 34, Osvaldo Sanchez, 40, Mirna Pena, 54, and Pedro Reynaldo Allende, 66,all residents of Miami-Dade County, Florida, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud affecting a financial institution. Ortiz, Tur, Canfield, Amador, and Sanchez  are scheduled to be sentenced on January 19, 2017. Pena and Allende are scheduled to be sentenced on March 28, 2017.

The charges arise from the involvement of the defendants in a complex mortgage fraud scheme involving two condominium conversion projects in central Florida.

According to court documents, including the agreed upon factual statements:

In 2007 and 2008, Ortiz, Tur, Canfield, Amador, and Sanchez participated in a mortgage fraud scheme involving two condominium projects: “Portofino at Largo,” in Largo, Florida, and “Bayshore Landing,” in Tampa, Florida.  Pena and Allende were involved in the same mortgage fraud scheme; however, their involvement was limited to units in the Portofino at Largo project.

During the course of the conspiracy, Pena, Allende, and other individuals recruited straw buyers and unqualified buyers, including Ortiz, Tur, and Canfield, to purchase units in the two condominium projects.  Among other things, the recruiters told certain prospective buyers that: buyers did not have to contribute any money to purchase a unit; buyers would receive a cash-back incentive or “kick-back” after closing; and buyers would receive several months’ mortgage payments.

The co-conspirators prepared and submitted false and fraudulent mortgage loan applications and related documents to various lenders including Bank of America, BankUnited, Chase Bank USA, CitiMortgage, First National Bank of Arizona, IndyMac Bank, JPMorgan Chase Bank, and Washington Mutual Bank.  Among other things, the loan applications and related documents contained false and fraudulent statements and omissions regarding: the borrower’s intention to reside in the unit; the borrower’s employment and income; the borrower’s assets and liabilities; the borrower’s payment of an earnest money deposit and cash-to-close; and the use of mortgage loan proceeds to pay “marketing fees” to various “marketing companies.”  In truth and in fact, the marketing companies were fraudulent businesses that did not provide any marketing services.  Instead, the “fraudulently induced marketing fees” were a means of diverting proceeds from the fraud scheme to the marketing companies.  The fraudulent marketing companies would then use the fraud proceeds to pay undisclosed kick-backs to the buyers.

Pena and Allende operated two Miami-based businesses, which were used to perpetrate the mortgage fraud scheme: Mortgage Bankers Lenders, Inc., a mortgage broker business, which submitted false and fraudulent loan applications and related documents to the lenders; and United Title Services & Escrow, Inc., which closed mortgage loan transactions even though the buyers had not paid earnest money deposits or cash-to-close, and used loan proceeds to pay “marketing fees” to a marketing company operated by unindicted co-conspirators.

Ortiz, Canfield, and Tur purchased units in Portofino at Largo.  Tur also purchased units in Bayshore Landing.  Ortiz, Canfield, and Tur engaged a Miami-based mortgage broker business operated by an unindicted co-conspirator to prepare and submit mortgage loan applications for their units.  On their behalf, the co-conspirator prepared and submitted fraudulent loan applications and other documents to various lenders.  The fraudulent loan documents included fabricated W-2 Wage and Tax Statements and pay stubs.  After closing on their units, Ortiz, Canfield, and Tur received substantial undisclosed kick-backs from a marketing company operated by an unindicted co-conspirator.  The kick-backs were funded with fraud proceeds, which had been paid to the marketing company as “marketing fees.”

Amador and Sanchez operated Allegiance Title of America, Inc., which served as the closing agent for mortgage loans involving condominium units in Portofino at Largo and Bayshore Landing.  Among other things, Amador and Sanchez caused Allegiance Title of America to disburse loan proceeds even though the buyers had not paid the earnest money deposits or cash to close, that was required by their loan applications and settlement statements.  Amador and Sanchez also caused Allegiance Title of America to pay fraudulent “marketing fees” to marketing companies.

The defendants face a maximum statutory term of thirty years’ imprisonment for their participation in the mortgage fraud conspiracy.

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Timothy Mowery, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG), George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Juan J. Perez, Director, Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), made the announcement.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FHFA-OIG, FBI and MDPD.  Both cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dwayne E. Williams.

 

Jason Martin, 36, Orange County, California, pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud conspiracy involving bank and wire fraud. He faces a maximum penalty of 30 years’ imprisonment. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to court documents, in 2005, entities controlled by co-conspirators entered into a contract to purchase The Arbors, an apartment complex in Hillsborough County, Florida. The new owners then engaged in a plan to convert the complex from rental apartments to condominium units. The co-conspirators engaged in a scheme to defraud mortgage lenders by developing a set of incentives, such as rental supplements, payment of homeowner’s association fees, and kickbacks to the buyers after closing. These buyer incentives were deliberately hidden from the lenders.

Martin’s role in the conspiracy, as a mortgage broker, involved originating mortgages through Envision Lending and Set 2 Go Loans. The loan applications submitted by Martin contained material misrepresentations, including false occupancy and inflated borrower income and asset information. These loan applications were submitted to FDIC insured institutions and other mortgage lenders.  Additionally, through his company HUMAR Investments, Martin and his co-conspirator provided borrowers with cash to close without disclosing the payments to the lenders.

United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announced the plea.  The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Chris Poor and Assistant United States Attorney Jay Hoffer.

Fred Davis Clark, Jr., a/k/a Dave Clark, 57, formerly of Monroe County, Florida, was convicted after a five week trial, of three counts of bank fraud, and three counts of making a false statement to a financial institution, all in connection with a $300 million fraud scheme involving the sale of vacation rental units involving Cay Clubs Resorts and Marinas (Cay Clubs), to approximately 1,400 investors in the Florida Keys and elsewhere.  Clark also was convicted of obstruction of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in connection with the SEC’s efforts to investigate his conduct related to Cay Clubs.

According to evidence submitted in court, Clark was the Chief Executive Officer of Cay Clubs, which operated from 2004 through 2008 from offices in the Florida Keys and Clearwater.  Cay Clubs marketed vacation rental units for 17 locations in Florida, Las Vegas and the Caribbean, to investors throughout the United States.  Cay Clubs raised more than $300 million from investors by promising to develop dilapidated properties into luxury resorts, and promising investors an upfront “leaseback” payment of 15 to 20% of the sales price of the unit at the time of closing.  Evidence at trial showed that, in reality, Cay Clubs never developed the properties it had promised to investors and that they remained in a dilapidated condition.  Continue Reading…

Michael R. Anderson, 46, attorney, Framingham, Massachusetts, was sentenced to two years in prison, two years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $11,048,212 in restitution and forfeit $7,413,712 in connection with a multi-year, multi-property mortgage fraud scheme in Dorchester and Roxbury, Massachusetts.  In January 2011, Anderson pleaded guilty to sixteen counts of wire fraud, nine counts of bank fraud, and two counts of engaging in unlawful monetary transactions.   Continue Reading…

Brendan Bolger, 41, Chicago, Illinois, was sentenced to two years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit bank, wire, and mail fraud in connection with a Condo Conversion Scheme. The Court also entered a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $13,641,197.90, which represents the fraud perpetrated on the mortgage lenders. Bolger pleaded guilty on August 20, 2014.

According to court documents, in 2005, entities controlled by co-conspirators entered into a contract to purchase The Arbors, an apartment complex in Hillsborough County, Florida. The new owners of The Arbors then engaged in a plan to convert the complex from rental apartments to condominiums. The developers financed their purchase of The Arbors with a loan from Corus Bank, a financial institution whose deposits were insured by the FDIC. The Corus loan agreement set forth substantial financial penalties for the developers if they failed to satisfy the loan requirements. Continue Reading…

Vince Manglardi, 59, real estate developer, Long Grove, Illinois; Theodore “TJ” Wojtas, Jr., 43, real estate developer, Glenview, Illinois; David W. Belconis, 56, attorney who owned and operated Classic Title, Inc., Long Grove, Illinois; Nunzio L. Greico, 63, Palatine, Illinois, who was formerly an employee of the developers; Walter Vali, also known as “Wally Mohammad” and “Mohammad Valimohammad,” 62, former mortgage loan originator, who did business as Sunshine Funding, Inc., Mundelein, Illinois; and Karin L. Ganswer, 62, former licensed real estate salesperson, Palatine, Illinois were indicted by an federal grand jury and charged with mail and wire fraud in connection with the marketing and sale of condominiums at a 50-acre development in Palatine, Illinois known as “The Woods at Countryside.”  They are alleged to have participated in a mortgage fraud scheme which caused more than $16 million in losses to banks, mortgage lenders, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. Continue Reading…


Rashmi Airan-Pace, South Miami, Florida, was granted a disciplinary revocation, with leave to seek readmission after five years, effective immediately, following a February 27, 2015 court order. Continue Reading…