Peter Bakowski, 59, Tampa, Florida, has been sentenced by U.S. District Judge Virginia Hernandez Covington to one hundred and eighty eight months (15 years 8 months) in federal prison for false statements related to a ponzi-type mortgage fraud scheme. He was also ordered to pay $16.1 million in restitution.
According to court documents, Bakowski was a Florida-licensed mortgage broker. Since 2004, Bakowski was doing multiple sales of the same mortgage to more than one person. In order to keep the ponzi-type scheme afloat, Bakowski would pay returns on the preceding investor’s investments with money from that of subsequent investors. There were more than thirty victims affected, to include investors and institutions and more than one hundred and fifty properties involved. Many of the investors were elderly.
United States Attorney Robert E. O’Neill announced the sentence.
United States Attorney O’Neill stated, “Mortgage fraud has plagued many areas of Florida and this sentence is a clear sign that those responsible for breaking the law are
being held accountable. We will continue to work with State and Local law enforcement to vigorously prosecute these types of crimes.”
“This case is another example of the benefits of State and Federal law enforcement addressing the problem of mortgage related fraud,” said John W. Joyce, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service. “By combining our resources we hope to have further successes in combating this fraud that is affecting many of us individually and the economy as a whole.”
“Because of the teamwork between our offices we were able to uncover and prove Mr. Bakowski’s wrongdoings and bring him to justice,” said Commissioner Tom Cardwell. “Bakowski’s promises of returns between 10-15 percent are a perfect example of the tactics used by fraudsters to entice investors and a reminder that, as consumers looking to invest our hard earned dollars, we need to adhere to the warnings that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t tue.”
This case was investigated by the Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) Bureau of Financial Investigations (BFI) and the United States Secret Service. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Thomas N. Palermo and Patricia Willing.