4 Charged With Submitting False Loan Applicaions

admin —  March 22, 2010 — 2 Comments

Joseph Miller, 63, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, Peter Hartofilis, 33, Flushing, New York, Robert Hofler, 52, Pembroke Pines, Florida, and Steve Vento, 41, Jupiter, Florida, are four new defendants that have been added in the case of United States v. Jason Vitulano, et al., Case No. 09-80156-CR-MIDDLEBROOKS(s). 

All of the defendants are charged with conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud by submitting false mortgage loan applications to Washington Mutual and other lenders between January 2006 and October 2007, in violation of 18 U. S. C. § 1349. In addition, Joseph Miller is charged with four counts of mail fraud, in violation of 18 U. S. C. § 1341, and Peter Hartofilis is charged with one count of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341 and 1343, respectively. Jason Vitulano, 44, Boca Raton, Florida, was previously charged with the same violations and remains under indictment for conspiracy, three counts of mail fraud and six counts of wire fraud. If convicted, the defendants all face up to 30 years in prison and mandatory restitution on each of the counts pending against them.

According to the superseding indictment, Jason Vitulano and Peter Hartofilis were branch managers of the TopDot Mortgage office in Boca Raton, Florida. The allegedly devised a scheme to submit loan applications to numerous lenders that contained grossly inflated statements of loan applicants’ earnings and assets on deposit in a local bank. Steve Vento is alleged to have submitted two false loan applications to fund the purchase of two houses, priced at $1.9 million and $1.1 million.

The superseding indictment also alleges that attorney Joseph Miller acted as closing agent and title agent on a number of these loan transactions and that Miller agreed to divert loan proceeds to the personal accounts of Vitulano, Hartofilis and others without disclosing that fact to the mortgage lenders.

According to the indictment, defendant Robert Hofler worked at First Southern Bank in Boca Raton, Florida as a vice president. Hofler is alleged to have falsely attested to loan applicants having large balances on deposit at First Southern, ranging from $130,000 up to $600,000. In reliance on these and other false statements in the loan applications, the lenders approved and funded more than $5 million in mortgage loans to purchase residences in Palm Beach and Broward Counties, Florida.

Jason Vitulano is detained pending trial. Defendants Joseph Miller and Robert Hofler will make their initial appearances before U. S. Magistrate Judge Ann E. Vitunac on Friday, March 19, 2010. Defendant Peter Hartofilis was arrested in Queens, New York, where he made his initial appearance. He is scheduled to appear in federal court in West Palm Beach, Florida on Wednesday, March 24, 2010. Steve Vento is scheduled to make his initial appearance in federal court in West Palm Beach, Florida on Wednesday, March 31, 2010. Trial has been scheduled for July 2010.

Jeffrey H. Sloman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael K. Fithen, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service, Henry Gutierrez, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, J. Thomas Cardwell, Commissioner, State of Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation, and Alex Sink, Chief Financial Officer, State of Florida’s Department of Financial Services made the announcement.

Mr. Sloman commended the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, State of Florida’s Department of Financial Services, and Office of Financial Regulation for their work in the case. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lauren Jorgensen and Ellen Cohen. The law enforcement agents and prosecutors are members of the Palm Beach County Mortgage Fraud Task Force.

An Indictment is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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2 responses to 4 Charged With Submitting False Loan Applicaions

  1. Patricia,

    AS a mortgage “veteran” of 40 years, you did the right thing reporting these bozos. AS for the broker harassing you, a restraining order would work fine.

    When I was underwriting, we had to put up with these idiots as well, I lost a few jobs standing up to them.

    Hopefully, the new SAFE law which requires greater scrutiny of individuals working as loan agents/brokers will help. However, as long as people make Commissions, this will prevail.

    You should just be able to walk into a bank, and speak with a salaried qualified loan officer who knows his/her butt is on the line for the first indiscretion. Why the industry got away from this concept I’ll never know.

    I am not an attorney, just an underwriter. However:

    Since you have an attorney, I would file a lawsuit against the lender, but you would have to file with the originator, which is Bank of America I believe.

    Best of luck to you..

  2. patricia warmhold March 22, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    THIS IS A FRAUDULENT, PREDATORY LOAN WHICH APPLICATION WAS WHITED OUT BY THE LENDER (AFTER MY ATTORNEY AND I REVIEWED IT THOROUGHLY I SIGNED IT BUT THIS COUNTRYWIDE BROKER WHITED OUT MY ORIGINAL INFORMATION AND INSERTED HIS OWN LIES- I GOT A COPY OF THIS FRAUD 2 YEARS TOO LATE – CITIMORTGAGE is the investor of my loan (COUNTRYWIDE – today owned by BANKAMERICA, the servicer/lender who has been refusing to modify my loan- as per the “Making Home Affordable” – for the past 4th time, though I qualify, stating each time that the ‘INVESTOR: CITIMORTGAGE” DENIED ME ! NO REASON GIVEN !)-My mortgage which is 80% of my income- making it unbearrable to survive as you can imagine-ACCORDING TO MY MONTHLY INCOME I DIDNT QUALIFY FOR A CONVENTIONAL LOAN- I QUALIFIED ONLY FOR A REVERSE – BUT THIS BROKER DELIBERATELY LIED TILL THE END LEADING ME AND ATTORNEY TO BELIEVE THAT I WAS GETTING A REVERSE – HE LIED ! this loan was one of those fraudulent ones, those unaffordable toxic assets called “NINA” -No Income No Assets – My house was paid for -I had full equity -being that I am a senior citizen an qualified for a REVERSE MORTGAGE- this broker who harrassed me, intimidated me, bullied me, stalked me in the parking lot at night, followed me to the ladies room – had my co worker work me out – hoovered over me and put his nose to my nose while spitting at my face just to intimidate me and threaten me -when my lawyer was not present- This chose to lie and stick me into one of those subprime stated no doc adjustable option arm to balloon)all of those lies handed down to me by a scrupoulous Plainview, Long Island, New York Broker who deliberately falsifed my documents after I signed them (my own attorney was present at the time of the signing therefore checked every line before I signed the documents)This man instructed by COUNTRYWIDE, (as they all were) to white out all my original information and insert his own lies – ie: the amount of my monthly (the truth $1,984.00- his lies: $8.527.00- I gave him all proofs of my financials such as my tax return and pay stubs but he lied and whited out my original information anyway) plus he boggussed the appraisal of my home for more then $200,000.00- all the application was whited out after I signed it (thus the reason why this broker refused to give me and my attorney a copy after he signing- it took me 2 years to obtain a faxed copy from COUNTRYWIDE- then I – and my attorney- almost dropped dead on the floor !
    This happened 4 years ago- and since then I reported this fraud to THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, THE FCC – OFFICE OF THE CURRENCY responsible for National banks such as BankAmerica, to the local community development programs in charge of helping distressed homeowners…you name it I reported it ! (I EVEN REPORTED IT TO PRESIDENT OBAMA!)

    Im hoping that you can intervene and take this matter in your own hands- I need to reach CITIMORTAGE the investor of my COUNTRYWIDE loan of AUGUST 2006) IF YOU SHOULD NEED ADDITIONAL INFORMATION- PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME AT pd15@optonline.net or call me at 516-495-4556

    Thank you kindly

    Patricia Warmhold

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