John Velez and Joseph DeRosa, both former City of Plantation, Florida, police officers, were convicted by a jury after a 9-week mortgage fraud trial in Fort Lauderdale federal court. The jury found co-defendants Daryl Radziwon, Casey Mittauer Robert DePriest, and Joseph LaGrasta not guilty on all charges.
More specifically, the jury convicted John Velez on one count of conspiracy, one count of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, and one count making false statements within the jurisdiction of HUD. The jury convicted Joseph DeRosa of one count of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud, and one count making false statements within the jurisdiction of HUD. Sentencing for Velez and Derosa has been scheduled for August 19, 2011, at 9:00 and 9:30 AM, respectively, before U.S. District Judge James I. Cohn.
According to evidence presented at trial, defendants Velez and DeRosa participated as straw purchasers in a mortgage fraud scheme that resulted in the issuance of more than $16,000,000 in loans. Previously, two mortgage brokers, Matt Gulla and Rene Rodriguez, and a title company employee, Jackie Trumbore, pled guilty for their participation in the scheme. Sentencing has been scheduled for August 26, 2011.
A separate trial is scheduled to commence on May 9th, 2011 on the remaining defendants: Steven Stoll, Steven Orchard, Joseph Guaracino, Dennis Guaracino, Jr.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Henry Gutierrez, Postal Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Amos Rojas, Jr., Special Agent in Charge, Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), Miami Field Office, and J. Thomas Cardwell, Commissioner, Florida Office of Financial Regulation, announced the conviction of defendants.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer stated, “Mortgage fraud is a virus that has spread through our community and to all levels of the mortgage industry. We will continue our efforts to combat mortgage fraud at all levels, from straw buyers to complicit lenders.”
U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer thanked the Plantation Police Department for their cooperation and assistance in this matter. Ferrer also commended the investigative efforts of the FDLE, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the State of Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick Sullivan, Laurie Rucoba and Jared Strauss.