Richard Cartegena, 43, Oldsmar, Florida, pled guilty to mortgage fraud conspiracy charges for his role in a scheme whereby false loan packages were submitted to lenders. Cartegena is a developer of La Encantada Villas, Tampa, Florida. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss caused by the offense.
According to court documents, from May 2007 through July 2008, Cartegena was one of the developers of La Encantada Villas, a development consisting of seven townhomes located on Watrous Avenue, Tampa, Florida. Neil Ferrigno was a minority partner in the development. Cartegena, who later purchased one of the townhomes himself, was aware of fraudulent mortgage practices in connection with at least two of the townhome purchasers – Stephen Hecklinger and Bohdan Horbacyck.
According to court documents, Ferrigno provided fraudulent verification of employment for Horbacyzk‘s purchase of one of the La Encantada townhomes. In addition, Ferrigno, and others, received payments from Horbacyzk, after the closing, which were not reflected in the closing documents. In connection with the purchase of his townhome, Hecklinger completed a fraudulent mortgage application, which included misrepresentations regarding a lease, gift letter and the down payment.
These material misrepresentations allowed these purchasers, and ultimately the developers, as sellers, to borrow money to close loans for properties that they could not afford. It further induced lenders to disburse funds for the loans based on misrepresentations as to the equity in these properties. The townhome locations were sold at prices ranging from $600,000 to $900,000 and have since been foreclosed upon by the lenders, with foreclosure sales prices ranging from $255,00 to $340,000.
On March 5, 2012, Neil Ferrigno, 49, Tampa, was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment for conspiring to commit mortgage fraud.
Bohdan Horbacyzk, 66, Oldsmar, was sentenced on November 30, 2011, to nine months’ imprisonment.
Stephen Hecklinger, 45, Paducah, Kentucky, was sentenced to five years of probation on January 10, 2012. For his role in providing the down payment for Hecklinger‘s purchase, Shawn Morrison, 51, Largo, Florida, is scheduled to be sentenced on March 27, 2012. The court ordered each individual to make restitution payments to victim lenders in an amount totaling more than $2 million. In addition, the court forfeited all traceable monetary proceeds received by each individual.
In a related case, another La Encantada townhome purchaser, Francis Reeder, was arrested on mortgage fraud charges on December 2, 2011, in the Southern District of Florida, where he remains on bond.
U.S. Attorney Robert E. O’Neill announced the guilty plea.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kelley C. Howard-Allen.