Domenico “Dom” Rabuffo, 77, Miami, Florida, Mae Rabuffo, 75, of Fort Lauderdale, and Williston Park, New York, Raymond E. Olivier, 52, Land O’ Lakes, Florida, and Curtis Allen Davis, 51, Tampa, Florida, were convicted after an eleven day-jury trial before Chief United States District Judge Kevin Michael Moore for their roles in a straw buyer scam.
The jury found each defendant guilty of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud affecting a financial institution, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349. The jury also convicted Domenico Rabuffo, Olivier, and Davis of multiple counts of bank fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1344.
Domenico Rabuffo, Mae Rabuffo, Olivier, and Davis are scheduled to be sentenced by Chief Judge Moore on September 25, 2014. The defendants face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for each count of conviction.
According to the indictment and evidence at trial, from 2003 to 2008, the defendants conspired to perpetrate a complex $49.6 million mortgage fraud scheme against various FDIC-insured lenders, including Bank of America, Regions Bank, SunTrust Bank, and Wachovia Bank. Domenico Rabuffo and Mae Rabuffo used shell companies to acquire ownership and control of a purported residential property development known as Hampton Springs, located in Cashiers, North Carolina. Then, Domenico Rabuffo, Olivier, and Davis recruited numerous straw borrowers to purchase building lots in the development. Several of the straw borrowers testified at the trial.
According to their testimony and other evidence, Domenico Rabuffo paid the borrowers to obtain lot purchase loans and construction loans for building lots in Hampton Springs. To obtain the loans, Domenico Rabuffo, Mae Rabuffo, Olivier, Davis, and other conspirators, submitted fraudulent loan applications and related documents to the lenders and the lenders’ closing agents.
Among other things, the loan applications and settlement statements for the lot loans contained fraudulent statements that the borrowers paid earnest money deposits and cash due at the closing. In fact, the deposits and cash-to-close were paid by Domenico Rabuffo and Mae Rabuffo using proceeds from the fraudulent scheme. Further, Domenico Rabuffo and Mae Rabuffo sent fraudulent correspondence to the closing agents, including letters bearing the forged signatures of borrowers, to create the false impression that the deposits and cash due at closing had been supplied by the borrowers from their own funds.
Olivier and Davis recruited straw borrowers for the fraud scheme and submitted fraudulent loan applications to the lenders. Further, Olivier and Davis caused their private companies to be disclosed as the employers of straw borrowers whose actual employment was inconsistent with the inflated income stated on their loan applications. Then, when they were contacted by the lenders, Olivier and Davis provided fraudulent verifications of employment for those borrowers.
Three other defendants, Diane M. Hayduk, 64, Miami, Florida, Victor Miguel Vidal, 49, Miami, Florida, and Lazaro Jesus Perez, 44, Miami Springs, Florida, pled guilty to the charged conspiracy. Hayduk assisted Domenico Rabuffo and Mae Rabuffo with the misappropriation of loan proceeds and the transmission of fraudulent correspondence to the lenders and the closing agents. Vidal served as a loan officer at SunTrust Mortgage, where he sponsored fraudulent loan applications for lots in Hampton Springs, including fraudulent applications for $33 million in construction loans. Perez furnished fictitious accountant’s letters to Vidal, in support of fraudulent loan applications submitted to SunTrust Mortgage. Hayduk, Vidal, and Perez are awaiting sentencing by Chief Judge Moore.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Jason T. Moran, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Office of Inspector General, Atlanta Regional Office, announced the convictions.
Mr. Ferrer commends the investigative efforts of the FBI and FDIC, Office of Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dwayne E. Williams and Jerrob Duffy.