Frank A. Rubino , ESQ.

FEDERAL AND INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL DEFENSE

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Mortgage fraud scheme totals $14 million

A mortgage fraud scheme accumulated staggering amounts of cash from illicitly obtained loans before federal authorities were finally able to stop it. The scheme was perpetuated across eight years, according to data released by federal prosecutors working on the case.

During that eight year period, the defendants are alleged to have obtained 52 mortgage loans. The loans were secured fraudulently and totaled $14.5 million. The official U.S. Attorney's office statement says that the money was used solely to enrich the defendants.

The mortgage loan money, secured between August of 2004 and October of 2012, was obtained through a variety of inaccurate representations that the defendants made to lenders. False claims were made about the income of the applicants, along with their employment status and overall financial condition. According to claims being made by prosecutors, the sale prices of the different pieces of property involved were also misrepresented. Inaccurate information about the sources for the down payments and HUD-1 settlement statements were given, too.

The defendants are alleged to have recruited many different property owners during the eight years of the scheme. They convinced the property owners to sell their homes and then inflated the sales prices to obtain mortgage loan cash.

The man accused of being the scheme's ringleader, a 41-year-old resident of Broadview, is said to have used his own investment company as a tool in the matter. He is charged with aggravated identity theft, obstruction of justice, bank fraud and wire fraud.

Others in the case are accused of compounding their situation by providing false documents after receiving subpoenas from a federal grand jury in 2012.

Mortgage fraud legal cases affect the defendants and their families, as well as the lenders and institutions involved. This is certainly true throughout Florida, where a significant number of homes are bought and sold every day. However, the people charged with mortgage fraud deserve a fair trial by an impartial judge and jury. They also have the right to appeal a verdict that is less than favorable. Just because the defendants have been charged with the above crimes does not mean they are guilty. The prosecutors must prove that in court beyond a reasonable doubt.

Source:  glenview.suntimes.com, "Ten indicted in $14 million mortgage fraud scheme" Sun-Times Media Wire, Sep. 25, 2013

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