Micah Meyers, 30, East Islip, New York, Stephen Caputo, 54, East Setauket, New York, Dawn Hughes, 37, Lindenhurst, New York, Fnu Lnu, a/k/a “Eddie Garcia,” Jakob Gearwar, 30, Brightwaters, New York, Brian Urraro, 31, Oakdale, New York, Michael Didio, 27, Bellport, New York, Daniel Hampton, 40, North Babylon, New York, Jennifer Moschitta, 26, East Islip, New York, Victor Avendano, 62, Lindenhurst, New York, Adrian Avendano, 30, Lindenhurst, New York, Janet McGuinness, 31, Lindenhurst, New York, and Liam Leavey, 30, Lindenhurst, New York, have been charged in a 15-count Indictment in connection with their roles in a sub-prime mortgage fraud scheme involving dozens of mortgages, totaling more than $10 million, on residential properties in Long Island and the New York City area.
According to the Indictment filed in Manhattan federal court:
From 2005 through 2007, the defendants, many of whom were employees of the Islip, New York, mortgage brokerage firm Bridgewater Funding, LLP, targeted residential properties, generally in the $200,000 to $500,000 range, in Long Island and the New York City area. In some instances, the defendants targeted properties whose homeowners were facing foreclosure, and fraudulently convinced them that selling their properties to the defendants would be a way to pay off their debts and “save” their homes. In other instances, the defendants identified target properties they believed could be resold quickly, or “flipped.”
To purchase the properties, the defendants, either directly or in the name of straw purchasers, submitted mortgage loan applications that contained false information regarding, for example, the applicant’s creditworthiness and intention to live in the residence. The loans thereby obtained typically exceeded the actual purchase price of the property, producing a “spread” from which the defendants profited. Straw purchasers, who were recruited via payment of substantial fees, promises of investment profits, and otherwise, were told not to worry about mortgage payments because the defendants would make the payments for several months and thereafter repurchase and/or resell the property. In fact, the defendants often failed to make mortgage payments, causing certain affected straw buyers to go into default on their mortgages.
As a result, mortgage lenders were forced either to foreclose on those properties or to re-purchase the properties from the straw buyers for less than the face amount of the loan. This often left the original homeowner (who had been promised that selling his or her home would be a way to “save” it) facing eviction. In other instances, the defendants rented the property to tenants and used the rent and other monies earned from the scheme to make mortgage payments on behalf of the straw buyers for a certain period of time before allowing the mortgages to go into default. In other instances, the defendants made mortgage payments for several months before “flipping” the property to yet another straw purchaser — who fraudulently obtained a new mortgage with the defendants’ assistance, restarting the fraudulent scheme.
Micah Meyers, Jakob Gearwar and Fnu Lnu, a/k/a “Eddie Garcia,” were loan officers employed by Bridgewater, who supervised and coordinated the recruitment of straw buyers and the submission of fraudulent loan applications and other documents to the lenders.
Brian Urraro was the office manager of Bridgewater, who supervised the loan officers and assisted them in submitting fraudulent loan applications and other documents to the lenders.
Michael Didio was a loan processor at Bridgewater, who assisted loan officers in submitting fraudulent loan applications and other documents to the lenders. Didio also acted as a straw buyer by signing and submitting fraudulent loan applications and other documents to lenders in order to obtain home mortgage loans for multiple properties within a short period of time.
Daniel Hampton falsely verified to mortgage lenders the employment information for certain straw buyers. Hampton also recruited individuals to act as straw buyers for the fraudulent scheme.
Stephen Caputo and Dawn Hughes acted as the buyers’ attorney, sellers’ attorney, and/or settlement attorney for fraudulent transactions. Caputo and Hughes knowingly assisted in closing fraudulent mortgage loans and making payments that were not disclosed to the lenders, in furtherance of the fraudulent scheme.
Victor Avendano, Adrian Avendano, Jennifer Moschitta, Janet McGuinness and Liam Leavey acted as straw buyers by signing and submitting fraudulent loan applications and other documents to lenders in order to obtain home mortgage loans for multiple properties within a short period of time, among other things.
Assistant United States Attorneys Mark D. Lanpher and Julian J. Moore are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.