Herzel Meiri, 64, and Amir Meiri, 35, pled guilty yesterday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, in connection with their scheme to fraudulently induce distressed homeowners to sell their homes for little or no consideration to a company they owned and controlled.
According to allegations in the contained documents filed in federal court, including the Indictment and Complaint:
From 2013 to 2015, Herzel Meiri and Amir Meiri defrauded distressed homeowners throughout the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens, New York. The Meiris and others falsely represented to these homeowners – some of whom were elderly or in poor health – that they could assist them with a loan modification or similar relief from foreclosure that could result in the homeowners saving their homes. But rather than actually assisting these homeowners, the defendants deceived them into selling their homes for less than the homes’ actual values to Launch Development LLC (“Launch Development”), a for-profit company owned and controlled by the Meiris.
Specifically, the Meiris’ direction fraudulently induced the homeowners to engage in a type of short sale in which the homeowner would sell the property to Launch Development. The Meiris and their conspirators falsely assured the homeowners that their homes would be returned to them after a short period, and that they could remain in their homes throughout the entire process. At the closing that followed, homeowners were encouraged to sign fraudulent documents, that unbeknownst to the homeowners transferred the homes Launch Development. Homeowners often were then forced to vacate their homes, and in many cases had no other place to live. Launch Development resold many of the homes, which were purchased at fraudulently deflated prices, for an enormous profit.
Herzel Meiri, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1,000,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. He also consented to forfeit $6,469,291.41, as well as 31 real properties, four bank accounts, and one escrow account, as proceeds traceable to the offense.
Amir Meiri, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and maximum fine of $1,000,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. He also consented to forfeit the same 31 real properties, four bank accounts, and one escrow account, as proceeds traceable to the offense.
The defendants will be sentenced by before U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos on July 27, 2018.
Robert S. Khuzami, the Attorney for the United States praised the outstanding work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and the New York State Department of Financial Services for their investigative efforts and ongoing support and assistance with the case.
The prosecution of this case is being overseen by the Office’s General Crimes Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew Thomas and Sheb Swett are in charge of the case.