Delio Coutinho, 73, loan officer, Woodbridge, New Jersey was sentenced to 36 months in prison for his role in a large-scale short sale mortgage fraud scheme that caused millions of dollars in losses. Coutinho previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton to an information charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court: From March 2008 through June 2012, Coutinho, a loan officer at a northern New Jersey mortgage brokerage company, and others conspired to release liens on encumbered properties via fraudulently arranged short sale transactions. This allowed Coutinho and other conspirators to profit from new fraudulent mortgage loans obtained on the properties from other mortgage lenders. To complete the short sale transactions, Coutinho and others submitted materially false closing and other documents to mortgage lenders. They submitted fraudulent mortgage loan applications to lenders to obtain new loans on multiple properties in Elizabeth, New Jersey. In all, Coutinho and others obtained approximately $2 million in illegal mortgage proceeds.
In addition to the prison terms, Judge Wigenton ordered Coutinho to serve three years of supervised release and pay more than $1.3 million in restitution.
U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman credited law enforcement agents of the FBI Newark Mortgage Fraud Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel; postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector in Charge Maria Kelokates; special agents of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christina Scaringi; special agents of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Steven Perez; special agents of the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), under the direction of Special Inspector General Christy Romero; special agents of IRS–Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen; and the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Esther Suarez, for their roles in the investigation leading to the sentencing.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Kogan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark, as well as Barbara Ward, Acting Chief of the office’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Unit.