Archives For Straw Buyer

Donald Keith Goff, 66, Laguna Niguel, California, has pleaded guilty to federal charges related to a series of fraud schemes that include one in which he worked with his criminal defense attorney to fraudulently apply for millions of dollars of loans using a straw buyer.

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Sofia Atias, 44, Great Neck, New York, Joseph Atias, 50, Great Neck, Nicholas A. Pellegrini, 51, Garden City, New York, and Paula Berckhoff, 34, Garden City, have been charged with bank fraud and conspiracy for allegedly defrauding Bank of America of over half a million dollars by avoiding foreclosure on a home through a fraudulent short sale of the property to a straw buyer.

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Karl Oreste, 56, Miramar, Florida, pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr., to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349.  The defendant and his co-conspirators operated a multi-million dollar straw buyer mortgage fraud scheme.

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Robert Serao, 48, Bayville, New Jersey, who used his position as a loan officer of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Inc., to get the company to release more than $4.6 million on fraudulent mortgage loan applications was sentenced to 24 months in prison for his role in a $40.8 million mortgage fraud conspiracy.

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Thomas G. France, 44, Strongsville, Ohio, a real estate agent, was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for his role in a $3.3 million mortgage fraud scheme involving six properties in Medina, Ohio.

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Craig A. Howell, 53, Sylvester, Georgia, was sentenced to serve 12 months in federal prison for making false statements to a federally insured financial institution by acting as a straw borrower.

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Joseph W. Witkowski, 68, Flemington, New Jersey, a former lawyer, admitted he conspired to participate in a scheme that caused lenders to release $40.8 million based on fraudulent mortgage loan applications and conspired to launder the proceeds of the fraud.

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Susanne Helbig, 49, formerly of Roanoke, Virginia, currently residing in Georgia, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on a variety of fraud charges associated with an alleged mortgage fraud scheme involving straw buyers centered around properties on Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia.

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Asm Afsary, 41, Stamford, Connecticut, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall to conspiring to defraud financial institutions through an extensive mortgage fraud scheme that involved dozens of properties in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

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Mark Henry Tkac, 49, Raleigh, North Carolina, was sentenced by Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever, III to a 42-month term of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release, and pay $1,612,612.94 in restitution for running a straw buyer scam.  The defendant used his expertise in real estate to exploit mortgage lenders.

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