Archives For Falsified HUD1

Jason Alain Wu and Michael Andrew Kergosien were indicted in the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, on August 28, 2019 and charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud HUD and five counts of mail fraud, aiding and abetting.

According to the indictment:

Wu was the owner of American Home Free Mortgage, LLC (“AHFM”), a company that assisted homebuyers with obtaining financing, including interim financing, to construct and purchase a manufactured home.  Kergosien was employed by AHFM as a loan officer, director of sales, and director of operations.  MK Financial Services, LLC (“MK Financial”) and 1X Funding, LLC (“1X Funding”) were shell “third party companies” set up at the direction of Wu or Kergosien to receive fraudulent construction management fees as a means to recoup AHFM’s costs associated with interim financing without disclosing the true nature of the fees to the borrowers or HUD or obtaining the borrower’s agreement to pay the fees. Under HUD’s Construction to Permanent Loan Program, lenders who provide interim financing during the construction of a home are prohibited from charging a borrower additional fees unless the borrower signs a separate agreement specifically agreeing to pay the fees.

In or about November 2010 through at least September 2016, Wu and Kergosien caused AHFM employees to submit false invoices to title companies, on behalf of MK Financial and 1X Funding, that fraudulently charged a “construction management fee” and that concealed that the true purpose of the fee was to pay for undisclosed AHFM costs, including warehouse line fees on construction loans.  The MK Financial invoices stated “[m]ake all checks payable to MK Construction” which falsely represented the funds would be used for construction related costs. They also caused false entries on the HUD-1’s making it appear that the housing manufacturer was paying the construction management fee outside of the closing when the fee was actually included in the borrower’s purchase price and ultimately rolled into the loan. These invoices and false statements were concealed from HUD and the borrowers.

Between July 6, 2011 and September 10, 2014, Kergosien and Wu caused title companies to issue checks to MK Financial/MK Construction resulting in fraudulent payments of approximately $1,117,581 on approximately 126 FHA insured loans for over $12M; and, between July 15, 2014 and September 10, 2015, to issue checks to 1X Funding, LLC resulting in fraudulent payments of approximately $1,062,416 on approximately 99 FHA insured loans for at least $3.8M.

On August 10, 2015, Housing Wire reported that HUD’s Mortgage Review Board had settled allegations that American Home Free Mortgage had artificially increased mortgage costs by an average of $12,000 per loan through illegitimate fees paid to a company owned and operated by its sales manager.  In that settlement, AHFM did not admit fault or liability but agreed to pay a civil money penalty of $169,419 along with the permanent withdrawal of its FHA approval.

Yelp’s page for American Home Free Mortgage reflects that the company is closed. It received only one review – 5 stars.

Laurence Savedoff, Esq., 44, New City, New York, who was convicted of misprision of a felony, was sentenced today for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme.

Between 2008 and 2009, the defendant represented The Funding Source (“TFS”), a mortgage bank, as the settlement attorney. The defendant’s law office was used to execute the closings for the eight real estate transactions for properties located in Bronx, New York, which involved efforts by five other individuals fraudulently to obtain mortgages that were insured by FHA on behalf of unqualified borrowers. For all eight transactions, the defendant caused the signing of the HUD-1 settlement statement and FHA Addendum to the HUD-1 knowing that the information therein was false.

Although he did not know the full extent of the scheme, the defendant became aware that others were using him to help defraud financial institutions. The defendant failed to notify authorities, including federal authorities, of these other individuals’ use of fraud to obtain funds from TFS. Furthermore, the defendant took affirmative steps to conceal the fraud by signing the HUD-1 Settlement Statement and FHA Addendum, or by having his paralegal sign them. Those documents were later forwarded by TFS, which he knew would be sent to financial institutions, including M&T Bank located in the Western District of New York. One duty of the defendant in his role as settlement attorney was to certify that the disbursements written on the HUD-1 accurately reflected the disbursements in the transactions. The HUD-1 and other financial documents were sent to financial institutions to show that the borrowers met FHA’s requirement of providing a 3-3.5% down payment. The defendant was aware that the borrowers in all eight transactions did not provide that down payment. Nevertheless, the defendant, or his paralegal at this direction, certified on the HUD-1 and in the FHA Addendum that the disbursements listed therein were accurate.  As a result of the aforementioned facts, financial institutions, including M&T Bank, purchased the fraudulently originated loans from TFS. https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdny/pr/attorney-sentenced-his-role-mortgage-fraud-scheme

The total amount of the mortgage loans for these eight transactions was $4,800,007.

U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. made the announcement.

The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service under the direction of Joseph W. Cronin, Inspector in Charge, Boston Division, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brad Geary; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gary Loeffert.  Additionally, the New York State Department of Financial Services assisted with the investigation.

Lori Lynn Andrew, 49, Cashmere, Washington, the owner of Hartman Escrow, Inc., a real estate escrow firm was sentenced today to 24 months in prison for bank fraud.

Andrew stole more than $2.1 million through a variety of techniques, including making false entries in escrow closing documents, altering accounting records, and depositing checks into the general account instead of the trust account.

According to records in the case, beginning in about January 2011, and continuing until July 2012, Andrew used a variety of means to defraud financial institutions and individual home buyers and sellers who were involved in various real estate transactions.  Andrew made, or had others make, false settlement statements on closing transactions listing false or inflated fees and charges.  Andrew forged signatures on various statements and created false invoices, statements, and bills; she altered and deposited checks to her company account that should have gone to others; and she took client funds from her trust account and transferred them to her personal account for her own use.  Andrew used the money for casino payments, credit card bills, and other personal expenses.  Andrew defrauded individual customers, as well as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citi Bank, Chase, and GMAC.  http://www.mortgagefraudblog.com/?s=Lori+Lynn+Andrew

In all Andrew defrauded the financial institutions and other customers of $2.185 million.  In July 2012, the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions arranged for a receiver to take over the Tukwila, Washington, escrow company after finding evidence of fraud.  Andrew had her license to act as an escrow agent suspended in 2013, and her license has since been revoked. The receiver was able to recover some funds for unsecured claimants, but just over $1 million is still owed to defrauded clients.

U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes made the announcement.

This defendant chose to victimize people when they were buying or selling a home–often the most important financial transaction of their lives,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  “Like all real estate escrow agents, the defendant was responsible for ensuring large amounts of money went where they belonged.  When she decided to line her own pockets rather than do her job, she crossed the line and earned the prison sentence that the court imposed today.”

At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones said, “Every single time you had an opportunity to change your mind and say ‘this is wrong,’ you kept doing it.

The case was investigated by the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions, the FBI, the Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), and the Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG).

The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Hugo Torres. Mr. Torres is a King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor specially designated to prosecute financial fraud cases in federal court.

 

Louis Marandola, 42, Providence, Rhode Island, a Former Real Estate Attorney, and Brian R. McCaffrey, 38, Warwick, Rhode Island, a former licensed loan originator, have been sentenced to federal prison for their participation in a scheme to obtain money they were not entitled to from financial institutions and individuals through mortgage loans, residential property sales and fees.

Marandola was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison to be followed by 3 years supervised release. On January 13, 2017, Marandola pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

McCaffrey was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison, to be followed by 3 years supervised release. McCaffrey pleaded guilty on January 27, 2017, to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud.

Two co-defendants in this matter, Raffaele M. Marziale, 41, Bristol, Rhode Island, a former loan officer who pleaded guilty on February 29, 2016, to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft; and Edwin Rodriguez, 35, Pawtucket, a real estate investor who pleaded guilty on June 1, 2016, to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, aggravated identity theft and tampering with a witness, are awaiting sentencing.

Gina Ronci Mohamed, 46, Lincoln, Rhode Island, was sentenced on April 25, 2017, to two years probation. Ms. Ronci pleaded guilty on April 22, 2016, to making a false statement to HUD. Lauren Sienko, 35, of Rehoboth, Massachusetts., was sentenced on April 3, 2017, to two years probation. Ms. Sienko pleaded guilty on January 6, 2017, to making a false statement to HUD.

According to court documents and information presented to the court, an investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office, HUD-OIG, U.S. Secret Service and Rhode Island State Police determined that between 2007 and 2014, the defendants conspired to execute a scheme which caused prospective homebuyers to obtain mortgages from financial institutions based upon materially false loan applications and fraudulent supporting documentation. As part of the conspiracy, false representations were made in order to obtain fees to which the defendants were not entitled or to make a profit selling property in which they had an ownership interest. In some instances, thousands of dollars were fraudulently obtained by misrepresenting on a HUD form the amount of funds due or to be paid to one of the parties involved in a transaction.

In numerous instances, the defendants concealed their involvement in the scheme by conducting business under the names of several different entities and individuals. At times, the defendants used stolen identities to further the fraud and to conceal their connection to the real estate transactions.

The sentences, imposed by U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., are announced by Acting United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch; Christina D. Scaringi, Special Agent in Charge of the Northeast Region of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG); Brian Deck, Resident Agent in Charge of the Providence Office of the U.S. Secret Service; and Colonel Ann C. Assumpico, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police.

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sandra R. Hebert and William J. Ferland.

 

 

Rebecca Gheiler, 49, Miami, Florida, was indicted and charged with conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud and six counts of bank fraud.

According to the indictment, Tribute Residential, LLC (“Tribute”), which was controlled by Gheiler, owned and sold condominium communities.  To entice buyers to purchase condominium units in these communities, Gheiler developed a program of incentives.  As part of this program, buyers were promised that Tribute would pay the mortgage and homeowners’ association dues during the buyer’s first two years of occupancy.  Other incentives developed and paid for by Gheiler included upfront cash to close and/or kickbacks to buyers after closing.  During each transaction, the HUD-1 Settlement Statement, signed by Gheiler as the seller, contained falsified information regarding the terms of each transaction, including the actual down payment amount paid by the buyer. In order to conceal the incentives from the mortgage lenders, Gheiler directed her co-conspirator, Angel Garcia-Oliver, to form companies that received monies from Tribute that were eventually paid to buyers and entities controlled by other co-conspirators.

If convicted, Gheiler faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison on each count.  The indictment also notifies Gheiler that the United States is seeking a forfeiture money judgment.

Garcia-Oliver previously pleaded guilty for his role in this case. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 9, 2017.

United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announced the indictment. The case was investigated by Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Vincent Chiu and Special Assistant United States Attorney Chris Poor.

Luis Francisco Moreno, Greer, South Carolina, was charged by information in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina and pled guilty to two counts of bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

According to the Information, Moreno was a licensed real estate broker and real estate developer.  Moreno was experiencing financial difficulties in his business ventures.  Moreno was encouraged by Person A, a closing attorney residing in Lexington, North Carolina who is now deceased, to serve as a loan applicant with Wells Fargo Bank, to purchase two pieces of property in North Carolina. Moreno provided materially false information about his assets and income in the loan applications and provided false documents, including bank statements and tax returns.  Moreno also signed false HUD-1 statements. The scheme diverted the loan proceeds from Wells Fargo.

 

Daniel C. Bomar, 36, Ocean Springs, Mississippi, James B. Wright, 55, Ocean Springs, Mississippi, and Brett T. Immel, 35, Chicago,  Illinois, were indicted by a federal grand jury on April 14, 2016, and charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering in the Eastern District of Texas.

According to the indictment, from 2010 to 2012, the defendants are alleged to have conspired to defraud and obtain money from Prime Lending, a mortgage lending company in Dallas, and from Federal Savings Bank, a mortgage lending company in Overland Park, Kansas.  Both companies are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).   Continue Reading…

Edgar A. Reyes-Colón and Francisco Quintero-Peña were indicted on charges of with making false statements in loan applications in scheme to obtain money from mortgage lending institutions.. The investigation revealed that as part of the scheme and artifice to defraud, the defendants, through straw buyers, purchased a property by obtaining mortgage loans from a federally insured financial institution in amounts substantially exceeding the selling price of the property. The excess amount of the loan was kicked back to the defendants, and then they would default on payment of the monthly mortgage premiums. In order to ensure the approval of the loan, the participants created and submitted false supporting documentation along with the loan application including  financial statements, bank statements, employment verification letters and tax returns. Continue Reading…

Dahianara Moran, 40, Methuen, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud for to participating in a conspiracy to defraud banks and mortgage companies by engaging in sham “short” sales of residential properties in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts.

Moran conspired with others – including a Methuen loan officer and a Haverhill real estate agent who were not identified in the charging document – to defraud various banks via bogus short sales of homes in Haverhill, MassachusettsLawrence, Massachusetts, and Methuen, Massachusetts. Continue Reading…

Antonio Pimenta, 47, Neshanic Station, New Jersey, admitted his role in a scheme that used straw buyers and phony loan documents to fraudulently obtain a $400,500 loan on a property in Irvington, New Jersey.

According to documents filed and statements made in court: Pimenta owned and managed Kelmar Construction Co. Kelmar built multiple properties in Irvington, New Jersey. These properties were sold to straw buyers utilizing fraudulent mortgage loans brokered by loan officer, Klary Arcentales, 47, Lyndhurst, New Jersey, and closed by settlement agent Linda Cohen, 57, Orange, New Jersey, who used fraudulent settlement statements to hide the true sources and destinations of the mortgage funds. The straw buyers had no means of paying the mortgages, and many of the properties entered into foreclosure proceedings. Continue Reading…