Jason Calabrese, 44, Watertown, Connecticut was sentenced to six months of imprisonment, followed by three months of home confinement and two years of supervised release, for his involvement in a series of fraudulent mortgage loan applications involving a straw borrower. Calabrese also was ordered to pay a $3,000 fine and $400,585 in restitution.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in November 2005, Calabrese ’s co-conspirator, Thomas Provenzano, obtained a $923,200 loan to purchase a lakefront home located at 27 Palmer Road, Morris, Connecticut, for more than $1.1 million, despite lacking the income to pay off the mortgage. The 27 Palmer Road property was owned by an entity controlled by Ryan Geddes, another co-conspirator.
To finance the purchase, Provenzano applied for a mortgage through Calabrese, who was a mortgage broker. The mortgage loan application contained statements that Calabrese knew were false, namely, that Provenzano had worked for the past four years as the “General Manager” for a Geddes-owned construction company, and that Provenzano’s income from the listed job was $20,000 per month, or $240,000 per year. In fact, Provenzano’s income was substantially less than that amount. Calabrese submitted the false loan application to a lender, which issued a $923,000 mortgage. At the closing, Calabrese ’s mortgage company was paid a $32,312 broker’s fee.
In November 2006, Provenzano applied for a new mortgage through Calabrese to refinance the November 2005 mortgage for the 27 Palmer Road property. The mortgage refinancing application also contained statements that Calabrese knew were false, namely, that Provenzano had worked for the past five years at Geddes’s construction company, and that Provenzano’s income from the listed job was $28,000 per month, or $336,000 per year. Calabrese submitted the false loan application to a federally-insured lender, which issued a $936,000 mortgage. At the closing, Calabrese’s mortgage company was paid an $18,720 broker’s fee.
The 2005 loan application had stated that Provenzano would reside in the 27 Palmer Road property as an owner-occupant. In fact, Geddes and his family continued to reside in the property. For a few years, Geddes paid Provenzano “rent,” which Provenzano used to cover the mortgage payments. But when Geddes moved out of the 27 Palmer Road property, he stopped forwarding payments to Provenzano, who stopped paying the mortgage. Accordingly the 27 Palmer Road property went into foreclosure.
On May 5, 2015, Calabrese pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
Provenzano and Geddes previously pleaded guilty. On December 1, 2014, Provenzano was sentenced to 18 months of imprisonment. Geddes awaits sentencing.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Henry Kopel and Michael Gustafson.