Lisa Marie Scarfo, 34, Elmer, New Jersey, the wife of a reputed mob figure admitted she conspired to defraud a mortgage lender in order to buy a $715,000 house in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey.
The defendant pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler in Camden federal court to a superseding information charging her with conspiracy to make false statements for the purpose of influencing the actions of the bank on her mortgage loan application.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
In November 2011, Lisa Marie Scarfo and 12 others—including her husband, Nicodemo S. Scarfo, an alleged member of the Lucchese La Cosa Nostra (LCN) crime family, and Salvatore Pelullo, an alleged associate of the Lucchese and Philadelphia LCN families—were variously charged in a 25-count indictment with a racketeering conspiracy including acts of securities fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, bank fraud, extortion, interstate travel in aid of racketeering, money laundering, and obstruction of justice. The indictment charged that FirstPlus Financial Group Inc. (FPFG), a Texas-based financial services company, was targeted for extortionate takeover and looting by a group of the conspirators. A substantial part of the enterprise’s activities occurred in New Jersey, including communications and the transfer of money into and out of the state.
Lisa Marie Scarfo admitted that she joined the mortgage fraud conspiracy in January 2008 when she worked with her then-fiancé, Nicodemo S. Scarfo, and others to secure a $500,000 mortgage from St. Edmond’s Federal Savings Bank to purchase the Egg Harbor Township house. Drossner previously pleaded guilty and admitted that at the direction of Pelullo, he created false tax returns to help Lisa Marie Scarfo qualify for a mortgage for the house. The indictment alleges that Nicodemo S. Scarfo used money looted from FPFG for the $215,000 down payment on the house. The false tax returns, which exaggerated Lisa Marie Scarfo’s income so that she could qualify for the mortgage without naming her then-fiancé Scarfo, were used to secure the mortgage.
After the FPFG scheme was shut down by federal law enforcement in May 2008, the Scarfos were unable to pay the mortgage, and the house ultimately went into foreclosure. It was sold by the bank in 2010.
Nicodemo S. Scarfo, Pelullo, and eight other defendants charged in November 2011—including attorneys William Maxwell, Cory Leshner, David Adler, Gary McCarthy, and Donald Manno—are scheduled for trial beginning October 28, 2013. Todd Stark, also charged in the indictment, previously pleaded guilty to providing ammunition to Scarfo and Pelullo, convicted felons.
The conspiracy count to which Lisa Marie Scarfo pleaded guilty is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for January 10, 2014.
U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman and Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division announced the guilty plea.
U.S. Attorney Fishman praised special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark; the Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Cheryl Garcia, New York Region; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, under the direction of Thomas J. Cannon in Newark. He also thanked the FBI under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Hanko in Philadelphia for its vital assistance and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for its role.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven D’Aguanno and Howard Wiener of the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office Organized Crime/Gangs Unit and Criminal Division in Camden and Trial Attorney Adam Small of the Organized Crime and Gang Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.