Maurizio Lancia, 48, Trumbull, Connecticut, was sentenced by Senior United States District Judge Alfred V. Covello in Hartford, Connecticut, to 27 months of imprisonment, followed by 2 years of supervised release for his role in a southeastern Connecticut mortgage fraud scheme.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Lancia conducted a law practice under the name of the Law Office of Maurizio D. Lancia, and also was a licensed mortgage broker, controlling and operating Royal Financial Services, LLC. From approximately 2004 to 2007, Lancia, Jose Guzman, William Athan, Stacey Petro and others used this and other mortgage brokerage companies, as well as property management and home improvement companies, to arrange for individuals (“borrowers”) to purchase real estate, primarily residential housing properties located in New London Country, Connecticut, by obtaining funding from various mortgage companies and mortgage originators after submitting false information on the borrowers’ mortgage loan applications.
The fraudulent information included information regarding income, assets, employment, rent history, as well as the borrowers’ intention to make the properties their primary residence. The borrowers, who typically were individuals who had good credit but were of modest means with low levels of income, were compensated for participating in the scheme.
In 2004, Lancia, Guzman and Athan purchased a property at 349-351 Broad Street, New London, and formed Broad Street Investment Group for the purpose of buying and selling properties. Both Royal Financial Services, LLC and First Source Mortgage Solutions, Inc. operated out of 349-351 Broad Street. Guzman worked as a loan officer at both Royal Financial Services and First Source Mortgage Solutions, arranging for individuals to obtain funding from various mortgage companies to fund mortgages of houses.
Lancia acted as a mortgage broker and closing agent in connection with fraudulent real estate transactions. As a mortgage broker, he secured a number of mortgages through Royal Financial Services based on materially false information, and as an attorney, he represented the seller on a number of the fraudulent transactions. For many of the fraudulent transactions, he acted a both the mortgage attorney and as the seller’s attorney.
Lancia earned nearly $100,000 in fees and commissions during the course of the scheme.
According to previously filed court documents, the government believes that more than 200 fraudulent mortgages were funded through this mortgage fraud scheme. Many of the properties have been foreclosed on and lenders have suffered losses of more than $3.6 million.
On October 18, 2011, Lancia pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud stemming from the scheme.
Sixteen individuals have pleaded guilty to various charges stemming from this scheme. Guzman, Athan, Petro and several others have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced the sentence.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael S. McGarry and David T. Huang.
In July 2009, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced the formation of the Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force to investigate and prosecute mortgage fraud cases and related financial crimes occurring in Connecticut. Citizens are encouraged to report any suspected mortgage fraud activity by calling 203-333-3512 and requesting the Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force includes representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Internal Revenue Service ““ Criminal Investigation; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General; Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General, and State of Connecticut Department of Banking.
This case was brought in coordination with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which was established to wage an aggressive and coordinated effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.
To report financial fraud crimes, and to learn more about the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, please visit www.stopfraud.gov.