George Hajati, also known as Gjergji Hajati, 31, Westerly Terrace, Rocky Hill, Connecticut, pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Mark R. Kravitz in New Haven, Connecticut, to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and eight counts of wire fraud stemming from a Hartford, Connecticut-area mortgage fraud scheme.
According to court documents and statements made in court, between September 2003 and November 2007, Hajati, using his company Connecticut Partners Mortgage (“CPM“), conspired with Justin Williams, Newington, Connecticut, a CPM employee; Douglas Sheehan, an attorney; and others to deceive mortgage lending financial institutions into providing falsely inflated mortgage loans to real estate buyers for the purchase of property that was worth less than the amount of the loans. CPM provided fraudulent financial statements to the lending institutions that inflated the sales prices of the properties, the down payments made by purchasers and the amount due to sellers, as well as other fraudulent information, in order to induce the institutions to provide the funds.
The various lenders have suffered a loss of more than $1 million due to this mortgage scheme.
On November 14, 2007, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents conducted a court-authorized search of Connecticut Partners Mortgage on Weston Street in Hartford. On November 21, 2007, Hajati fled the United States. In January 2008, Hajati met Williams in Australia and, in May 2008, the co-defendants traveled to Albania, where HAJATI had lived until he was 17 years old, has relatives, and is fluent in the language.
On March 17, 2009, approximately one month after Hajati and Williams were indicted by a grand jury in Hartford, Hajati was arrested by Albanian authorities after he attempted to cross the border of Albania and Montenegro. He was extradited to the United States on July 24.2009.
Judge Kravitz has scheduled sentencing for June 24, 2010, at which time Hajati faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years and a fine of up to $1 million, on each count.
Williams voluntarily returned from Albania. On October 21, 2009, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and three counts of wire fraud. He awaits sentencing.
On November 20, 2008, Sheehan waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and four counts of wire fraud. He also awaits sentencing.
Nora R. Dannehy, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced the guilty plea. This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Paul H. McConnell.
In July 2009, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced the formation of the Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force to investigate and prosecute mortgage fraud cases and related financial crimes occurring in Connecticut. In addition to investigating past mortgage fraud schemes, the Task Force will focus on emerging crime trends that are associated with the growing tide of foreclosures, including foreclosure rescue schemes and short sale schemes. Citizens are encouraged to report any suspected mortgage fraud activity by calling 203-333-3512 and requesting the Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force includes representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General; Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General, and State of Connecticut Department of Banking.