Fred Loewinger, 62, Strongsville, Ohio, was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to pay $1.4 million in restitution. Co-defendant Mitchel Petti was found guilty at trial of 13 felony mortgage fraud charges and will be sentenced March 14, 2011.
On October 27, 2010, Loewinger pleaded guilty to 25 felony mortgage fraud related offenses for his participation in financing the purchase of 20 houses with $1.4 million in fraudulent loans. Loewinger owned Fast Mortgage Services, Inc. and conducted his fraudulent activities as a licensed mortgage broker and loan officer.
Fred Loewinger was the main defendant in a criminal enterprise that involved thirteen (13) co-defendants who fraudulently engaged in financing these homes in Cleveland, Ohio. Loewinger pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, one count of money laundering, three counts of theft by deception, and 20 counts of tampering with records. He faced a maximum of 128 years in prison.
This fraudulent enterprise utilized 3 schemes to deceive lenders: loan application fraud, down-payment scheme, and kickbacks to defendants upon closing the sale of the house. The defendants also engaged in a scheme called “double HUD,” where the title company submitted bogus settlement statements, called a “HUD-1,” to the lender showing a higher purchase price and then created another set to the seller with the lower and actual purchase price.
Fred Loewinger orchestrated this criminal enterprise while he was a licensed loan officer and owner of Fast Mortgage, and the owner of MJL Processing, Ltd., Inc. He submitted the fraudulent loans to the lenders, arranged for bogus down payments, and deposited kickback money into accounts with Fast Mortgage and MJL Processing. The money was then distributed to other defendants. In addition, defendant Mitchell Petti, 38, Sagamore Hills, Ohio, co-owned and operated Titles Etc., which fraudulently closed these loans. 85% of these houses fell into mortgage or tax foreclosure.
On February 3, 2011, Mitchel Petti was found guilty by the court after a five day trial of 13 mortgage fraud related crimes, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, conspiracy, and money laundering. Titles, Etc. was also found guilty. Mitchel Petti was in charge of the daily operations of the business, which included closing and funding of these fraudulent loans. The State presented evidence that the defendant knew these loans were fraudulent when he accepted these fraudulent deals in the spring of 2003 through the fall of 2004. The State focused on a meeting in the spring of 2004 when Mitchel Petti and another employee of Titles, Etc. discussed these fraudulent loans with Fred Loewinger, the loan officer and owner of Fast Mortgage.
Petti is the last defendant to be sentenced in this case. His sentencing is scheduled for March 14, 2011, at 10:00 am before Judge Timothy McCormick. Engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity is a felony in the first degree and carries with it the presumption that Petti will be confined in prison between 3 and 10 years. He faces an additional period of confinement from 10 to 42 years in prison for the other offenses.
County Prosecutor Bill Mason and the Cuyahoga County Mortgage Fraud Task Force operating under authorization of Ohio Attorney General’s Office and Ohio’s Organized Crime Investigations Commission announced the sentence. This case was investigated by the Cleveland Office of the FBI in connection with their participation in the Mortgage Fraud Task Force.
The investigation was conducted by the Cuyahoga County Mortgage Fraud Task Force. The Task Force is comprised of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The director of theTask Force is a Sergeant of the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office.