Archives For New Hampshire

The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, Massachusetts affirmed Michael Prieto‘s New Hampshire conviction and 72 month sentence for committing mail fraud by organizing and managing a fraudulent mortgage rescue scheme.  Prieto’s crime grew out of the mortgage crisis in the mid and late 2000s and involved defrauding distressed homeowners out of their properties and then obtaining money by lying on subsequent mortgage applications to strip equity from these properties.

On appeal, the First Circuit rejected Prieto’s argument that the government improperly charged him with a single, overarching fraud count.  The Court concluded that the government’s single charge against Prieto was appropriate because the charge reflected the “multi-faceted [and] complex scheme” that Prieto devised.  The Court also denied Prieto’s claim that the government had not presented sufficient evidence of Prieto’s intent to commit fraud.   In this regard, the Court concluded that “there was ample support to find that Prieto was both the conductor and a musician in an orchestrated fraud that worked for a while only because it was fraud.”  Finally, the Court determined that there was sufficient evidence that the lies Prieto placed in mortgage applications were important to the bank’s decision to issue loans.  As the Court noted, lies about a mortgage applicant’s stated income and the planned use for the property (i.e., primary residence vs. investment property) are important pieces of information to a bank because they have a natural tendency to influence a bank’s loan decision.   Continue Reading…

Kurt Sanborn, 48, formerly of Dracut, Massachusetts, was sentenced to 27 months in prison.

In May 2003, Sanborn used a private $500,000 loan to buy a home in Manchester, New Hampshire.  In exchange, the private lenders received a first mortgage on the Manchester property which was recorded at the Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, Registry of Deeds.

In October 2003, Sanborn asked a mortgage company for a $685,000 loan to buy a second home in Gilford, New Hampshire.  The mortgage company agreed to finance the transaction if it received first mortgages on the Manchester and Gilford properties.  To deceive the mortgage company, Sanborn caused a mortgage discharge that contained the private lenders’ forged signatures to be filed with the Hillsborough County Registry of Deeds.  Sanborn’s conduct involving interstate wire communication and documents that were delivered by the U.S. Postal Service as part of the fraud served as the basis for wire and mail fraud charges.

Sanborn was also charged with bank fraud based on his conduct, in February 2004, in acquiring a $150,000 loan from a federally insured bank in exchange for a second mortgage on the Manchester property.  Sanborn concealed from the bank the private lenders’ mortgage on the Manchester property.

In October 2004, Sanborn sold the Manchester property without disclosing the private lenders’ mortgage on the property to the new owners.  He then used the proceeds of the sale to make a $185,000 payment to the mortgage company and to fully repay the $150,000 loan from the federally insured bank.

Sanborn pleaded guilty to the charges in May 2014.

The sentence was announced by Acting United States Attorney Donald Feith. The case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service.  It was prosecuted by AUSA Robert Kinsella.