Eric Koppelman, 49, Hauppauge, New York, and Irshad Ramzan, a/k/a “Tony“, 36, Baldwin, New York, have pled guilty to a scheme to steal over $6 million in money obtained from banks through home mortgage loans for the purchase of residential properties, which funds were supposed to be used to pay off existing mortgages on the properties.
Ramzan controlled the operations of a business called 44th Street Home Funding, Inc., which did business under the trade name “Platinum Funding“. Platinum Funding was located in South Ozone Park, New York, and engaged in the business of, among other things, brokering retail real estate and mortgage transactions, that is, arranging for the sales of homes and arranging for home mortgage loans for persons wishing to purchase homes or refinance loans on existing homes in the State of New York.
Koppelman was an employee of Aegis America LLC (“Aegis”), Manhattan, New York. Aegis provided services in connection with the closings of the sales of residences in the State of New York.
From 2004 through October 2005, Koppelman and Ramzan engaged in a scheme to steal the funds obtained from banks as part of home mortgage loan transactions that were to be used to pay off various residential real estate transactions processed through Platinum Funding and/or Aegis.
In order to effect this illegal scheme, Koppelman and Ramzan:
• issued, and cause to be issued, checks representing all or part of the funds that were to be used to satisfy mortgages to one or more companies controlled by Koppelman or Ramzan;
• falsely and fraudulently represented to the financial institutions providing home mortgage loans that part of the proceeds of the mortgage loans to buyers were being used to satisfy the seller’s mortgage loan, when, in truth and in fact, these funds were being used by Koppelman and Ramzan for their own purposes.
Koppelman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud before United States District Judge Paul G. Gardephe. Previously, in August 2009, Ramzan, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud before United States District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald.
Koppelman is scheduled to be sentenced before Judge Gardephe on May 25, 2010. Ramzan is scheduled to be sentenced before Judge Buchwald on March 25, 2010, on the bank fraud conspiracy charge and on a conspiracy to commit mail fraud and bank fraud charge arising out of a separate scheme to which Ramzan pleaded guilty in October 2007.
The announcement was made by Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Ronald J. Verrochio, the Inspector-in-Charge of the New York Office of the United States Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”), Mr. Bharara praised the work of the USPIS and thanked them for their work in this case.
These cases are being prosecuted by the Office’s Complex Frauds Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Daniel W. Levy is in charge of the prosecutions.