Christopher Shawn Linton, 35, Alabaster, Alabama, was sentenced to five years and 11 months in prison for his role in an investment fraud scheme through which he submitted a fraudulent loan application to Iberia Bank for a $908,650 loan, and took more than $2.8 million from 12 investors spending the funds on a lavish home, private jets, championship football trips and island vacations.
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The Loan Modification Scam Prevention Network and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law issued a report finding that attorney involvement in foreclosure rescue and loan modification scams to be growing…
Eliyahu Weinstein, 38, Lakewood, New Jersey, who was sentenced less than two months ago to 22 years in prison for running a Ponzi-style real estate scheme, was indicted by a federal grand jury on new charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, and transacting criminal proceeds while on pretrial release.
The Homeowner Legal Assistance Association (HLAA), a Florida corporation, has allegedly misled hundreds of distressed homeowners facing foreclosure in Hawaii by a loan modification program operated by HLAA for approximately 17 months in 2009 and 2010.
Alfred J. Cronk, 55, East Haven, Connecticut, a former attorney, was arrested and charged with stealing more than $18,000 of the proceeds from the sale of a house owned by an estate he was retained to represent.
Sandra Elaine Barton, 30, Fresno, California, Christopher Spencer Barton, 31, Fresno, California, Daniel Paul Vedenoff, 29, Fresno, California, Sheldon W. Feigel, 50, Fresno, California, and Craig Merrill Mortensen, Fresno, California, were arrested and charged with 288 felony counts including perjury, filing false court records and preparing false evidence. The five individuals arrested were booked into the Fresno County Jail on bail ranging from $27,500 to $1,795,000. Cambria Lisa Barton, 21, Fresno, California, who was also charged, remains at large.
Harold L. Gruber, 60, Brooklyn, New York, an attorney, and his condominium-developer clients, Joseph Scarpinito, 59, who has a prior federal felony conviction for bank fraud, and Shiraz Sanjana, 54, have been barred pursuant to a court order from doing condo and securities-related work in New York pending the court case. The order enjoins the respondents from engaging in any act directly or indirectly relating to the offer or sale of securities (which includes coops and condos) in or from the State of New York.
Bryan D’Antonio, 47, Brea, California, and Charles Wayne Farris, 53, Aliso Viejo, California, were arrested for operating the Rodis Law Group and America’s Law Group, businesses that allegedly offered bogus loan modification assistance to struggling homeowners. Ronald Rodis, 49, Irvine, California, an attorney, surrendered to federal agents on charges alleging that he participated in, and lent his name and the law license he formerly possessed to, the fraudulent operation.
Gerry Zobrist, 43, Las Vegas, Nevada, an attorney, was sentenced to 87 months in prison for his involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme that caused more than $30 million in losses to lenders.
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.