Frank A. Rubino, ESQ.

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Florida Mortgage Case Ends In Plea Deal For Fourth Defendant

In the conclusion to a scheme that began in 2006, a fourth defendant will face a criminal sentencing later this fall. The white collar crime case involved mortgage applications for 12 luxury homes in Florida. Three other defendants-all purported home buyers-are already serving prison terms. This defendant served as their realtor.

Prosecutors alleged that this defendant, as a realtor, acted as a ringleader in the scheme. At the height of the housing boom, the defendant allegedly submitted false mortgage applications listing inflated home values. The sellers gave the excess amounts back to the realtor who in turn remitted it to the buyers. The buyers planned to use the extra mortgage funds to make payments until they could flip the houses for a greater profit.

Although the conspiracy submitted very little supporting documentation in the mortgage applications, lenders still approved loans for the inflated amounts.

Wire and mail fraud charges apply to federal crimes in which the defendants used interstate communication media. Use of the postal services to accomplish fraud counts as mail fraud, for example, while use of interstate telephone service can lead to wire fraud charges.

In this case, the three homebuyers are serving 37 month sentences. Prosecutors recommended that the federal judge impose a sentence between 36 and 48 months for the fourth defendant.

This is the defendant's first criminal prosecution. Prior to the investigation, he was an executive at a residential real estate firm in Florida.

Source: The Palm Beach Post, "Former Realtor reaches plea deal for prison time for Martin, St. Lucie mortgage fraud," Elliott Jones, Sept. 25, 2012

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Frank A. Rubino, Esq.
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