Christopher B. Maselli, a former North Providence real estate attorney and former Rhode Island state senator, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Providence to 27 months in federal prison. Maselli pleaded guilty in November 2010 to eight counts of bank fraud, admitting that he falsified bank and federal tax documents and lied about his income and assets in obtaining more than $1.7 million in mortgages and loans. Maselli pleaded guilty as charged. There was no plea agreement between Maselli and the government.
At the time of Maselli‘s guilty plea, Assistant U.S. Attorney Dulce Donovan told the court that beginning in June 2007, Maselli applied for a series of loans, primarily mortgage loans, from several federally insured banks. In order to qualify for those loans, the defendant lied about his income and assets and produced fabricated documentation, including false tax returns and bank statements to support his misrepresentations regarding his income and assets. In all but one instance, the banks relied on the defendant’s false statements in approving him for the loans.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Donovan told the court that Maselli began his schemes in May 2007, when he and his wife signed a purchase and sale agreement to buy land and a home for $200,000. Maselli intended to demolish the existing structure and build a home. The defendant used his wife’s elderly grandmother as a straw borrower and applied for two mortgages in her name, totaling $200,000. The defendant’s wife’s grandmother was falsely told that she would be cosigning the loan with the defendant’s wife and that her name would be removed from the mortgage within three months of the purchase.
Instead, the loan applications Maselli submitted to the bank were submitted with the wife’s grandmother named as the sole applicant, and the loans were issued in her name only. In order to deceive the bank into thinking that his wife’s grandmother was the true purchaser of the property and the true borrower, the Masellis created numerous false documents relating to his wife’s grandmother and submitted false information on the loan applications concerning the grandmother, her income, and her assets. Maselli never removed the grandmother’s name from the mortgage and, a week after the closing, the defendant completed a deed transfer which transferred her ownership in the property to him.
Donovan told the court that in each of the seven subsequent instances of applying for and obtaining mortgages and loans, the latest which was obtained in March 2009, Maselli employed schemes where he lied about his income and assets and produced fabricated documentation including false tax returns and bank statements to support his misrepresentations regarding his income and assets. In each instance, the banks relied on the defendant’s false statements and false documents in approving the loans.
Maselli was ordered to surrender by 2 p.m. on March 10, 2011, to prison officials or the U.S. Marshals Service to begin serving his sentence.
The sentence, which was imposed by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi, was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha; Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Boston Field Office; and Cortez Richardson, Special Agent in Charge of the HUD Office of Inspector General.
The matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General; and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations.