Archives For New York

Angelo Alleca, 46, Buffalo, New York, and Mark Morrow, 54, Cincinnati, Ohio, were arraigned on charges of orchestrating a multi-million dollar investment fraud scheme.  The Defendants marketed several funds that were supposed to invest in certain assets/investments, such as hedge funds managed by a professional money manager of mortgage debt.  According to the new indictment, they instead used the money to pay redemptions to earlier investors, to acquire and operate several businesses, and to pay personal expenses.

According to U.S. Attorney John Horn, the indictment, and other information presented in court: From on or about 2004 until 2012,  Alleca acted as the President and Chief Operating Officer of Summit Wealth Management, an investment adviser headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. During that time, Alleca started several funds and falsely misrepresented that money would be invested in hedge funds and debt securities and managed by professional investment managers. Continue Reading…

Michael Barnett, real estate developer, pled guilty to conspiring to defraud lenders and make false statements to HUD in connection with his development of Vineyard Commons, a luxury residential complex in Ulster County, New York.

According to Barnett’s admissions in court during his plea allocution and the allegations made in the Superseding Indictment:

Barnett, who was the developer of Vineyard Commons, sought kickbacks and investments from subcontractors and vendors on the project and made false statements to the project’s lender so that he could draw down on the project’s line of credit. Barnett arranged with two executives of a vendor who provided rough carpentry and lumber supplies on the project (the “Lumber Company”) to have the Lumber Company pay Barnett a kickback in exchange for Barnett’s award to the Lumber Company of the Vineyard Commons contract, as well as future business on other developments Barnett was planning. To raise funds for the kickback, Barnett and the two Lumber Company executives agreed that the Lumber Company would inflate its bid for labor and materials by approximately $865,000. Continue Reading…

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued Geographic Targeting Orders (GTO) that will temporarily require certain U.S. title insurance companies to identify the natural persons behind companies used to pay “all cash” for high-end residential real estate in the Borough of Manhattan in New York City, New York, and Miami-Dade County, Florida. FinCEN is concerned that all-cash purchases – i.e., those without bank financing – may be conducted by individuals attempting to hide their assets and identity by purchasing residential properties through limited liability companies or other opaque structures. To enhance availability of information pertinent to mitigating this potential money laundering vulnerability, FinCEN will require certain title insurance companies to identify and report the true “beneficial owner” behind a legal entity involved in certain high-end residential real estate transactions in Manhattan and Miami-Dade County. Continue Reading…

Michael Pampalone, former mortgage broker, 32, Elizabeth, New Jersey, was arraigned on an indictment charging him with two counts of wire fraud.

The indictment alleges that Pampalone stole $132,450 from an East Greenbush, New York, man who hired Pampalone to help him obtain a mortgage.  According to the indictment, Pampalone instructed the victim to wire funds to a New Jersey bank account, and then, after the wires were completed, stole the money.

Pampalone faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, if convicted.  Pampalone, who was indicted on December 23, 2015, was arraigned on January 4, 2016 before Magistrate Judge Daniel J. Stewart.  He was released on a bond pending a trial scheduled for March 7, 2016 before District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian, New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico, and Shelly A. Binkowski, Inspector in Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division.

This case is being investigated by the New York State Police and the United States Postal Inspection Service, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Wayne A. Myers.

David Gotterup, also known as “David Gott,”, 35, Oceanside, New York, and Jason Green, 35, Oceanside, New York, were charged in an eleven-count indictmenet with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and bank fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud homeowners who were attempting to modify their mortgage loans, and related mail fraud counts.  The indictment also charged Gotterup with conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud in connection with a scheme to improperly obtain mortgage loans, and related bank fraud counts, disaster loan fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Continue Reading…

The United States filed a civil suit against the Rainy Day Foundation, Inc., a purported charitable “counseling fund,” together with its associated business entities and principals.  The case was filed federal court in Central Islip, New York and has been assigned to United States District Judge Joseph F. Bianco.

The complaint alleges that in at least 865 instances, the Rainy Day Foundation, together with five Eastern District of New York-based mortgage lenders and their principals, defrauded the United States and various banks insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”), resulting in millions of dollars of mortgage losses, and requiring the United States to pay over $5,605,237 in false claims. Continue Reading…

Ped Abghari, a/k/a “Ted Allen,” 38, Irvine, California, and Justin Romano, 41, of Blue Point, New York, pled guilty for their roles in orchestrating a massive mortgage modification scheme that collectively defrauded over 8,000 homeowners out of over $18.5 million.  Abghari and Romano each pled guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and Abghari also pled guilty to misprision of a felony.  Romano pled on September 14, 2015, and Abghari pled on September 15, 2015, before U.S. District Judge. John F. Keenan.   Continue Reading…

Anika N. Greene, 42, Bronx, New York, was convicted by a federal jury on charges of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, access device fraud and three counts of aggravated identity theft.

Green was charged in a superseding indicted on July 15, 2014. According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Greene and three other individuals, Jeffrey Washington, Alice Howard, and Catya J. Craig, burglarized Wells Fargo mortgage offices throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland in 2012 and 2013. The defendants stole over 1,800 mortgage files that were then used in a variety of bank customer impersonation and retail credit fraud schemes, targeting various banks and retailers. Washington recruited individuals to go into banks, impersonate customers and remove funds via setting up business accounts and transferring funds from the accounts of bank customers. Washington and other defendants, including Greene, traveled from New York to the Eastern District of Virginia on multiple occasions throughout 2012 and 2013. Continue Reading…

Selim Zherka, 47, businessman, Somers, New York, pled guilty to conspiring to make false statements to a bank in order to receive millions of dollars in loans and to file materially false tax returns with the IRS.  As part of his plea agreement, Zherka agreed to forfeit $5.23 million.

According to the Superseding Information filed in White Plains federal court and other court documents filed in the case:  From December 2005 through the present, Zherka conspired with others to obtain $63.5 million in loans from Sovereign Bank (now Santander), for the purchase and/or refinancing of apartment house complexes in Tennessee by lying about the purchase price of the real estate he was acquiring and the amount of the down payment he was making toward the purchase in question. Continue Reading…

Ignacio Huergo, 44, Miami, Florida, was sentenced to 2 years’ probation, with six months to be served on home confinement, for his conviction for concealing massive financial institution fraud.  Huergo was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $736,254.25 to M&T Bank.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross, who is handling the case, stated that Huergo worked for the companies of Frank Garcia, Federal Guaranty Mortgage Company (FGMC) and Guaranty Realty and Investment (GRI) as a bookkeeper and tax preparer between 2006 and 2008.  During that time, Huergo became aware of the business practices of Garcia, and knew that Garcia used him and another person as straw buyers as part of this vast mortgage fraud scheme.  The defendant also knew that Garcia manipulated financial statements that Huergo drafted, which were sent to financial institutions, indicating that FGMC had a minimum net worth of over $1,000,000.  Knowing about the fraud and the two ways it was perpetrated, Huergo failed to notify the authorities of Garcia’s fraud, resulting in a $24 million dollar loss to various financial institutions.  One such institution, M & T Bank, was defrauded out of approximately $4.4 million.

Garcia previously pleaded guilty to his part in this $24 million financial institution fraud scheme.  Garcia is scheduled to be sentenced on August 24, 2015.

The sentencing is the result of an investigation by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge, Brian P. Boetig.