Neal Sultzer, Plainview, New York, has been sentenced to two years in prison for his role in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud in connection with a $66 million mortgage fraud scheme involving over 100 home mortgage loans for residential properties in the New York City area, Westchester County, Dutchess County, and Long Island.
According to the indictment previously filed in Manhattan federal court, as well as statements made in public proceedings:
First Class Equities (FCE), a/k/a Thunder Funding, a/k/a TAT Mutual Capital, was a mortgage brokerage firm with offices located in Oceanside and Old Westbury, New York. As previously reported by Mortgage Fraud Blog, in August 2011, 14 individuals were charged in connection with their roles in a massive mortgage fraud scheme, including FCE‘s owner and president, loan officers, attorneys, and one disbarred lawyer. As part of the scheme, FCE arranged home sales between straw buyers, people who posed as home buyers, but who had no intention of living in, or paying for, the mortgaged properties and homeowners who were often people in financial distress and willing to sell their homes.
Loan officers at FCE recruited straw buyers many of whom were paid and obtained mortgage loans on their behalf by submitting fraudulent applications to banks and lenders that made false representations about the straw buyers’ net worth, employment, income, and plans to live in the properties.
After approving the loans, the lenders sent the mortgage proceeds to attorneys who were involved in these transactions, one of whom was Sultzer. Sultzer and his coconspirators would then appear at real estate closings and distribute the loan proceeds.
He and the other attorneys submitted false statements to the lenders about how they were distributing the loan proceeds and made illicit payments, typically totalling tens of thousands of dollars or more per transaction, from the loan proceeds to themselves and to other members of the conspiracy.
Sultzer pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud and faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. In connection with his plea, Sultzer agreed to forfeit $10,689,500.