Jordan Horsford, 29, East New York, Brooklyn was indicted today for allegedly stealing and attempting to sell the home of his 85-year-old neighbor, a diabetic man for whom the defendant was a part-time caretaker.

According to the investigation, in August 2016 the defendant, who was known to do odd jobs in the neighborhood, began helping the victim as needed, including carrying his wheelchair up steps and helping him get in and out of vehicles; he was paid for each task by the victim’s family.

In April 2017, it is alleged, the victim’s family began paying the defendant $400 a week to accept Meals on Wheels deliveries and set them out for the victim, to make sure he took his medicine and to check in on him at night.

Between June 19, 2017 and November 1, 2017, the defendant allegedly convinced the victim to sign away the deed to his home on Barbey Street, East New York, Brooklyn. The defendant allegedly told the victim he risked losing his home if he did not sign a document, and had the document notarized by a notary. The defendant then allegedly realized he needed another document notarized, but the notary refused so the defendant allegedly copied and cut and pasted her original signature. He then recorded the deed, which had been signed over to him.

Finally, it is alleged, the defendant attempted to sell the house almost immediately after securing the deed, but a title company suspected foul play and refused to insure the home. The would-be purchaser then reached out to the 85-year-old victim’s family. At around the same time, the victim’s daughter, while going through her father’s mail, found a letter from the Department of Finance notifying them about documents filed relating to the property. The daughter pursued the matter with the DOF and the case was ultimately referred to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office for further investigation and prosecution.

Additionally, the defendant allegedly used the victim’s credit card to buy two gold bars online, one in September 2016 and another in August 2017.

Horsford was arraigned yesterday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on a 12-count indictment in which he is charged with second-degree grand larceny, third-degree grand larceny, first-degree identity theft, first-degree falsifying business records, offering a false instrument for filing, criminal possession of a forged instrument and fraudulently obtaining a signature. He was released without bail, ordered to surrender his passport and to return to court on March 6, 2019. The defendant faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top count.

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez made the announcement.

District Attorney Gonzalez said “This case should serve as another warning that rising property values in Brooklyn make homeowners, especially the elderly, the target of unscrupulous predators trying to steal their homes from under them. I urge all homeowners to be especially careful about signing documents relating to their property without trusted legal advice.”

The case was investigated by Detective Sheriff Kevin Acon, of the Criminal Investigations Bureau, New York City Department of Finance.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Karen Turner of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Gavin Miles, Counsel to the Frauds Bureau, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.

George Gilmore, 69, Toms River, New Jersey, was charged today in a six-count indictment with one count of income tax evasion for calendar years 2013, 2014, and 2015; two counts of filing false tax returns for calendar years 2013 and 2014; failing to collect, account for, and pay over payroll taxes for two quarters in 2016, and making false statements on a 2015 loan application submitted to Ocean First Bank N.A.

According to documents filed in this case:

Gilmore worked as an equity partner and shareholder at Gilmore & Monahan P.A., a law firm in Toms River, New Jersey where he exercised primary control over the firm’s financial affairs. Gilmore filed on behalf of himself and his spouse federal income tax returns declaring that he owed $493,526 for calendar year 2013, $321,470 for 2014, and $311,287 for 2015. Despite admitting that he owed taxes for each of these years, Gilmore made no estimated tax payments and failed to pay the federal individual income taxes that he owed. Rather, between January 2014 and December 2016, Gilmore spent more than $2.5 million on personal expenses, including substantial home remodeling costs, vacations, and the acquisition of antiques, artwork, and collectibles. By Dec. 31, 2016, based on the tax due and owing that Gilmore reported on the returns, he owed the IRS $1,520,329 in taxes, penalties, and interest.

Gilmore also submitted a loan application to Ocean First Bank containing false statements. On Nov. 21, 2014, Gilmore reviewed, signed, and submitted to Ocean First Bank a Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA) to obtain refinancing of a mortgage loan for $1.5 million with a “cash out” provision that provided Gilmore would obtain cash from the loan. On Jan. 22, 2015, Gilmore submitted another URLA updating the initial application. Gilmore failed to disclose his outstanding 2013 tax liabilities and personal loans that he had obtained from others on the URLAs. Gilmore received $572,000 from the cash out portion of the loan, the proceeds of which he did not apply to his unpaid taxes.

To evade and defeat the payment of his taxes Gilmore concealed information from the IRS and falsely classified income, made false and misleading statements to IRS personnel, and filed false tax returns that materially understated the true amount of income that he received from the law firm:

  • From January 2014 to December 2016, Gilmore used the law firm’s bank accounts to pay more than $2 million worth of personal expenses, including obtaining checks to cash and cash advances on a corporate credit card. Gilmore falsely classified payments as “shareholder loans” instead of income to him.
  • On Oct. 16, 2014, Gilmore sent the IRS a $493,526 check as payment for his 2013 taxes despite having no more than $2,500 in his personal bank account at the time. Gilmore’s check bounced and he never resubmitted payment in lieu of the bounced check. From November 2014, when he was notified by the IRS concerning the bounced check, to the end of December 2014, Gilmore spent more than $80,000 toward the construction of his home and to purchase artwork, antiques, and collectibles and more than $25,000 in mortgages and related expenses for five real estate properties that he owed.
  • From November 2014 to October 2015, Gilmore falsely represented to the IRS collections officer that he would make partial payments to the IRS for his outstanding tax liability, but made none.
  • Gilmore filed false tax returns for 2013 and 2014, which under reported his actual income from the law firm.

Because he exercised significant control over the law firm’s financial affairs, Gilmore was a person responsible for withholding payroll taxes from the gross salary and wages of the law firm’s employees to cover individual income, Social Security and Medicare tax obligations.  For the tax quarters ending March 31, 2016, and June 30, 2016, the law firm withheld tax payments from its employees’ checks, but Gilmore failed to pay over in full the payroll taxes due to the IRS.

The tax evasion count and the two counts of failing to collect, account for, and pay over payroll taxes each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The two counts of filing a false tax return each carry a maximum penalty of three years in prison, and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The count alleging loan application fraud carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Gilmore will be arraigned at a date to be determined.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig made the announcement.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge John R. Tafur, special agents with U.S. Attorney’s Office under the direction of Supervisory Special Agent Thomas Mahoney, and special agents of the FBI Red Bank Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, for the investigation leading to today’s indictment.

The government is represented by Deputy U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Skahill; Assistant U.S. Attorney Jihee G. Suh of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division; and Trial Attorney Thomas F. Koelbl of the U.S. Department of Justice – Tax Division.

The charges and allegations in the indictment are merely accusations, and Gilmore is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Danny Noble, 49, Baldwin, New York was sentenced today to 4.5 to nine years in prison in connection with illegally transferring the titles of seven houses in Brooklyn, New York and two in Queens, New York from their true owners to himself or a corporation, then renting out some of the properties and selling others.

According to the indictment, between June 29, 2010 and March 31, 2015, the defendants falsely transferred title to seven Brooklyn properties: 71 Carlton Avenue, 104 Vanderbilt Avenue, 45 North Oxford Street and 70 Clermont Avenue, Fort Greene,; 1391 East 95th Street in Canarsie, 357 Jefferson Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant; 729 Essex Street in East New York all in Brooklyn, New York and two properties in Queens, New York: 94-05 108th Street in Jamaica and 187-05 Liberty Avenue in Hollis.

Five of the properties were transferred from the actual homeowners to Noble, according to the indictment, three were transferred to 69 Adelphi Street, LLC, and one to a third party. The defendants allegedly targeted the properties because the owners did not live in the houses and rarely visited them.

Once the titles were transferred, according to the indictment, the defendants carried out various scams in order to cash in on them. For example, Noble maintained control of 45 North Oxford Street, a recently renovated brownstone in Fort Greene, whose owner lived outside of the United States. Noble rented out two apartments in the brownstone, collecting $1,500 a month in rent for each of them. He also maintained control of the two houses in Queens, renting them out for various amounts.

In another facet of the scheme, concerning 1247 Putnam Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, Noble filed a fraudulent satisfaction of mortgage.

Furthermore, for example, with respect to 71 Carlton Avenue, 104 Vanderbilt Avenue, 70 Clermont Avenue, and 1391 East 95th Street, the defendants transferred the properties’ titles into the names of other, third parties.

Noble pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal possession of stolen property and fourth-degree conspiracy before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on April 27, 2016 and was sentenced today to an indeterminate term of 4.5 to nine years in prison. His co-defendant, Romelo Grey, 41, Freeport, New York, pleaded guilty to falsifying business records on August 16, 2016, and was sentenced to 1.5 to 3 years in prison.

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez made the announcement.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, the scheme was discovered after Grey and Noble transferred the title to the Canarsie house at 1391 East 95th Street to a third party. Grey visited the house with the buyer to inspect it, and told the tenants living there that they had to move out. The buyer then began renovating the house and those workers caught the eye of an employee of a business across the street, which was actually owned by the true owner of 1391 East 95th Street. That employee called the owner of the property, who called police. Further investigation led to the defendants’ connections to the other properties.

As part of the scheme, Noble, the leader, filed false documents with the New York City Department of Finance, Office of the City Register, which maintains land records and other real property filings in New York City, including records relating to ownership and encumbrances, such as liens and mortgages.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “In Brooklyn, we take real estate scams very seriously. The houses targeted in this fraud are worth millions of dollars. My prosecutors and investigators worked diligently to expose this fraudulent scheme and bring this defendant to justice.”

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Richard Farrell, Chief of the District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit, under the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division.

Hasan Hussain, 57, New Jersey, mastermind of mortgage fraud scheme lands unlucky prison sentence. A man described by prosecutors as the mastermind of a mortgage fraud scheme that defrauded homeowners, investors and banks of nearly $1.5 million has been sentenced to more than 13 years in prison.

Source: N.J. mastermind of mortgage fraud scheme lands unlucky prison sentence | nj.com

Alysia Franco, also known as Martha Orozco, was indicted for her alleged involvement in a scheme to steal closing funds during real estate purchase transactions.

In September 2015, the FBI Phoenix Field Division’s Tucson Resident Agency received a report alleging the theft of closing funds in a real estate transaction from a Tucson, Arizona resident.  The alleged victim notified the FBI that they wired their closing funds to a bank account in the name of SkySea Logistics after receiving an email instructing them to do so, purportedly from a party to the real estate closing.  Unbeknownst to the victim, Skysea Logistics Services was not a party to the real estate transaction and was allegedly used as a front business by Franco, who allegedly provided SkySea’s business and account information to others for use in receiving the proceeds of criminal activity between September 2013 and September 2015 as alleged in the indictment.

The resulting investigation by the FBI uncovered another victim in Tucson, Arizona who transferred closing funds to SkySea Logistic Services.  The funds wired by both victims totaled $391,500.00.  The Attorney General’s Office seized the full amount of the funds from SkySea’s bank account and returned the full amount of what was allegedly stolen back to the victims.

The indictment alleges Franco committed two counts of Theft, one count of Money Laundering in the Second Degree, one count of Illegally Conducting an Enterprise, and one count of Conspiracy.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich made the announcement.

This matter was investigated by the FBI Phoenix Field Division’s Tucson Resident Agency.  Assistant Attorney General Rachel R. Heintz is prosecuting the case.

All defendants are presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law.

 

George French Jones, Jr., 50,  Santa Monica, California, pled guilty on December 21, 2018, to mail fraud and identity theft charges in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme involving two waterfront residential properties in Broward County, Florida.

According to information disclosed in open court, in early 2018 Jones identified two residential properties in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which Jones fraudulently pledged as collateral in order to obtain mortgage loans from a private lender.

The two properties were owned by corporate entities that Jones had no affiliation with and which were in fact owned by independent third parties. To execute his fraudulent loan scheme, Jones created fake identification documents and email addresses in order to impersonate officers of the corporate owners of the two properties. Jones then submitted bogus loan applications and other documents to a private lender in which he pretended to be the owners of the Fort Lauderdale, Florida properties. As a result of this scheme, Jones defrauded the private lender out of approximately $1.7 million dollars.

Jones pled guilty to one count of mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341, and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1). At sentencing, Jones faces a maximum possible sentence of 22 years in prison.  He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola on March 1, 2018, at 8:30 a.m.

Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) made the announcement.

U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of the FBI.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Browne. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nalina Sombuntham is handling the asset forfeiture aspects of the prosecution.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

The first Filipina judge in Cook County broke down in sobs in a federal courtroom Thursday before being sentenced to a year in prison for her role in a $1.4 million mortgage fraud scheme that occurred years before she took the bench.

Source: Ex-judge given 1 year in prison for mortgage fraud scheme: ‘I’m an embarrassment!’ – Chicago Tribune

Kevin Morgan, 42, Pittsford, New York, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Between March 2011 and June 2017, the defendant, along with co-defendants Todd Morgan, Frank Giacobbe, Patrick Ogiony, and others, conspired to defraud financial institutions, including UBS Securities LLC, Arbor Commercial Mortgage LLC, and Berkadia Commercial Mortgage, LLC

Kevin Morgan was employed as a Vice President at Morgan Management, LLC, a real estate management company that managed more than 100 multi-family properties.  Todd Morgan also was employed by Morgan Management as a Project Manager. Kevin and Todd Morgan worked with Frank Giacobbe, who owned and operated Aurora Capital Advisors, LLC, a mortgage brokerage company, and Patrick Ogiony, an Aurora employee, to secure financing for properties managed by Morgan Management or certain principals of Morgan Management.

Kevin Morgan and his co-defendants provided false information to financial institutions and government sponsored enterprises that overstated incomes of properties managed by Morgan Management or certain principals of Morgan Management. This resulted in the financial institutions issuing loans for larger amounts than the financial institutions would have authorized had they been provided with truthful information.

The defendants misled the financial institutions regarding the occupancy of properties. For example, Kevin Morgan: conspired to provide false rent rolls to lenders and appraisers on a variety of dates, overstating either the number of renters in a property and/or the rent paid by occupants; conspired to provide false and inflated income statements for the properties; and worked with others to deceive inspectors into believing that unoccupied apartments were, in fact, occupied.

In one such instance, Kevin Morgan and his co-defendants provided false information to Berkadia Commercial Mortgage, LLC, in connection with Rochester Village Apartments at Park Place, a multi-family residential community owned by certain Morgan Management principals. The false information included inflated income derived from storage unit rentals, inflated reports of rental income, and reporting apartment units as occupied before certificates of occupancy were obtained for those units.

In addition, Kevin Morgan and his co-defendants made misrepresentations to conceal from the lending financial institutions that Morgan Management used a portion of the loan proceeds for purposes other than that disclosed in the loan application. Loan funding was used to maintain or improve other properties managed by Morgan Management, and to satisfy debts associated with other properties managed by Morgan Management. For example, the defendants included a fictitious $2.5 million debt in a loan application purportedly owed to a Morgan Management controlled entity and created a fabricated payoff letter for that debt to increase the amount of the loan in connection with a property known as Autumn Ridge.

U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. made the announcement.

History has shown us the havoc that can be wrought when fraud takes place in the mortgage industry,” noted U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “This investigation, and today’s plea, protect that industry from fraud and those who invest in securities which are backed by mortgages.

From day one, our investigation has focused on protecting the residential and commercial financing industry,” said Gary Loeffert, Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI’s Buffalo Division. “With Kevin Morgan’s plea today, we have advanced our efforts to safeguard the tens of thousands of investors who own mortgage-backed securities.

Robert Manchak, Acting Special Agent in Charge for the Northeast Region of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General, said, “The financing of multifamily loans is a significant segment of Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s portfolio.  As our commitment to this case demonstrates, FHFA-OIG will work with our partners in law enforcement to investigate and hold accountable those who subject the entities regulated by FHFA to fraud, waste, or abuse.

Charges are pending against defendants Frank Giacobbe, Patrick Ogiony, and Todd Morgan. The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Today’s plea is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Robert Manchak, Northeast Region.

Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date before Judge Wolford.

Edward Sypher, Jr., 41, Scarsdale, New York, formerly the Chief Financial Officer of Long Island mortgage lender Vanguard Funding, LLC (Vanguard), was sentenced today to 18 months’ imprisonment to be followed by three years’ supervised release for conspiring to commit wire and bank fraud in connection with the diversion of warehouse loans that Vanguard had fraudulently obtained purportedly to fund home mortgages and mortgage refinancing.

Vanguard was a 33-branch, mortgage lending institution licensed in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington.  Between August 2015 and March 2017, Sypher and his co-conspirators at Vanguard engaged in a multi-million dollar fraud scheme by falsely representing that the loan proceeds would fund specific mortgages, or refinance specific mortgages, for Vanguard clients.  Instead, Sypher and his co-conspirators diverted the funds to pay personal expenses and compensation, and to pay off loans they had previously obtained through fraudulent loan applications. http://www.mortgagefraudblog.com/top-executives-plead-guilty-8-9-million-warehouse-loan-fraud/

The amount of restitution will be determined by the Court at a later date.  Sypher was also ordered to pay $22,150.45 in forfeiture.

On December 10, 2018, Matthew T. Voss, Vanguard’s former Chief Operating Officer, was sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment for his role in the scheme.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Maria T. Vullo, Superintendent, New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), announced the sentence.

Edward Sypher, Jr., has been punished for deceiving his banking partners in order to divert millions of dollars to his own benefit and that of other Vanguard executives,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  “This Office, working hand-in-hand with our law enforcement partners, will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute business executives who choose to commit fraud as a means of getting ahead at the expense of the businesses and residents of our district.

When fraudsters treat investors like their own personal ATMs, using funds invested in good faith to line their own pockets, pay for personal expenses, and repay other fraudulent loans, confidence in the integrity of our financial systems suffers,” stated FBI Assistant-Director-in-Charge Sweeney.  “Thanks to the diligent work of the FBI and our partners, Sypher will be held accountable for his crimes.”

DFS is proud to have worked with the U.S. Attorney’s office and other law enforcement partners to bring this defendant to justice,” said DFS Superintendent Vullo.  “We will continue to combat the serious issue of fraud in order to safeguard the industry and protect consumers.”

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Business and Securities Fraud Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Whitman G.S. Knapp and Elizabeth Losey Macchiaverna are in charge of the prosecution.

David John Dziedzic, 55, Scottsdale, Arizona, was sentenced on December 17, 2018 to 30 months’ imprisonment for his lead role in criminal activity related to the short sale of distressed mortgages, some of which were federally-insured.

Dziedzic operated the “Housing Angels” program through his company, Real Core Realty, LLC.  He aggressively marketed a program designed to help homeowners stay in their homes following a short sale, through an undisclosed sale-leaseback program with “angel” investors.   Through this program, he typically received commissions from both the buyer and the seller in a short sale transaction. Dziedzic also recorded false secondary liens on more than 100 short sale properties to induce banks holding primary mortgages to pay off the false secondary mortgages, resulting in more than $100,000 in illegal profits as a result of the scheme.

Dziedzic’s wife, Heather Hamilton Dziedzic, 43, pleaded guilty to a related misdemeanor charge, and was also sentenced for her role in the offense.  She will also surrender her real estate license.  She received a two-year term of probation and a deferred disposition on a felony securities charge, which may be dismissed upon successful completion of the probationary term.

Dziedzic had previously pleaded guilty to one count of communication of unregistered securities, and a separate count involving the failure to notify the Treasury Department of his collection of more than $10,000 in cash from a real estate customer.  

As part of the sentence, Dziedzic must give up his real estate license.  He paid $107,280 in restitution for the actual loss caused when 40 banks paid out on the false liens, and he was also ordered to pay a money judgment of $142,000 over time, in order to disgorge additional profits.  As part of the plea agreement, Dziedzic, a Canadian national who naturalized as a U.S. citizen during the investigation, agreed to cooperate in his denaturalization, because he had failed to disclose the existence of the investigation to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services during the naturalization process.

The investigation in this case was conducted by Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation; the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General; the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution was handled by Gary M. Restaino and Monica B. Klapper, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.