Shawn Anthony, Hudson, Ohio, Todd Cerankowski, Akron, Ohio, Andrea DeStefanis, Medina, Ohio, Brian DeStefanis, Medina, Ohio, Donna DeStefanis, Medina, Ohio, Tiffany Gibson, Akron, Ohio, Paul Gosden, Akron, Ohio, Nicki McManis, Akron, Ohio, Anthony Ramsey, Akron, Ohio, Frank Ruggiero, Akron, Ohio, John Scordos, Parma, Ohio, Otelia Simmons, Uniontown, Ohio, Daniel Spahr, Cleveland, Ohio, Leroy Steele, Akron, Ohio, Hope Turner, Akron, Ohio, and Sonora Turner, Cleveland, Ohio, have been indicted on charges related to more than $1 million in alleged mortgage fraud involving 40 different properties.
Brian DeStefanis and Anthony Ramsey are alleged to have acted as the primary mortgage brokers who orchestrated the fraud by falsifying mortgage applications to justify the loans being requested. While DeStefanis and Ramsey served as conductors, at least 14 other individuals are alleged to have played important roles in the scheme as appraisers, straw buyers and home improvement contractors.
The announcement was made by the Ohio Attorney General Richard Corday and Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh.
“This type of fraud wreaks havoc on our communities,” said Attorney General Cordray. “The players in these kinds of schemes are willing to lie, cheat and steal with no regard to the damage they leave in their wake. Neighborhoods are stuck with boarded-up homes and lower property values, and municipalities and school districts suffer from the community’s deflated tax base.“
Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh said, “The number of criminals who prey upon people who are just looking for the dream of owning their own home has become shocking. I applaud Attorney General Richard Cordray for aggressively working with us and providing his resources to help stop these criminals and protect our homeowners.”
The charges are the result of a two-year-long investigation by the Summit County Mortgage Fraud Task Force.
The criminal cases will be prosecuted by the Ohio Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Unit and the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office. The Summit County Mortgage Fraud Task Force operates in conjunction with the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission. In addition to the Summit County Prosecutor, agencies participating or assisting in the work of the task force include the Summit County Sheriff’s Department, Summit County Fiscal office, Akron Police Department, Cuyahoga Falls Police Department and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.