Archives For New Jersey

Pierre Chainey, 42, Tabernacle, New Jersey, was sentenced to 54 months in prison for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme that caused $2.7 million in losses.  Chainey previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of money laundering. Judge Hillman imposed the sentence on July 7, 2017, in Camden federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

In November 2005, Chainey established Universal Lending Solutions LLC, a mortgage brokerage company in Northfield, New Jersey, and served as chief executive office of the company until 2008. He was also a loan officer for the company.

From November 2005 through at least January 2008, he conspired with others to profit from the sale and purchase of properties in New Jersey by obtaining mortgage loans for unqualified borrowers using fraudulent loan applications, HUD-1 Settlement Statements and other documents.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Hillman sentenced Chainey to three years of supervised release; restitution will be determined at a later date.

Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced the sentence and credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher, and special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Senior Litigation Counsel Jason M. Richardson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.

Rafael Popoteur, 65, Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to an information charging him with conspiring to commit bank fraud between 2012 and 2014.  He admitted his role in a scheme to use false information and simultaneous loan applications at multiple banks to fraudulently obtain home equity lines of credit, a practice known as “shotgunning,”

According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court:

From 2012 through January 2014, Popoteur, Simon Curanaj, and others conspired to fraudulently obtain multiple home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) from banks on a residential property in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. To get the banks to extend lines of credit they would not have otherwise approved, Popoteur, Curanaj, and others transferred ownership of a Ridgefield Park property to Popoteur, who also lived at the property.

Popoteur, Curanaj, and others then applied for three HELOCs from multiple banks using the Ridgefield Park property as collateral. They hid from the lenders the fact that the property was either already subject to senior liens that had not yet been recorded, or that the same property was offered as collateral for a line of credit from another lender. The applications also falsely inflated Popoteur’s income. The equity in the property was far less than the amount of the HELOC loans Popoteur and others applied for.

The victim banks eventually issued loans to Popoteur in excess of $495,000. After the victim banks deposited money into Popoteur’s bank accounts, Popoteur disbursed portions of it to Curanaj and others. In 2014, Popoteur defaulted on all three HELOC loans.

The conspiracy to commit bank fraud count carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 10, 2017.

The charges against Curanaj are still pending and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced the plea and credited special agents of the U.S. Federal Finance Housing Agency, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Steven Perez; and special agents of the FBI, under the direction Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher of the Newark office, with the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason S. Gould of the U.S. Attorney’s Criminal Division in Newark and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin DiGregory of the FHFA, Office of the Inspector General.

Defense counsel: Jean Barrett Esq., Montclair

Michael Pampalone, 34, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, pled guilty  to defrauding a Rensselaer, New York, resident of $132,450.

As part of his guilty plea, Pampalone admitted that he stole money that he had promised to hold in escrow for a client seeking a mortgage. After the client sent him two wires totaling $132,450, Pampalone withdrew the money and used it for his own purposes.

Sentencing is scheduled for August 9, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. before United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino. Pampalone faces up to 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to 3 years of post-imprisonment supervised release. A

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian and Shelly A. Binkowski, Inspector in Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Boston Division.

This case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service and New York State Police, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Wayne A. Myers.

Joseph W. Witkowski, 70, former New Jersey lawyer, Flemington, New Jersey, was sentenced to 48 months in prison for participating in a conspiracy that caused lenders to release $40.8 million based on fraudulent mortgage loan applications and laundered the proceeds of the fraud.  Witkowski previously pleaded guilty to an indictment charging him with one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez imposed the sentence in Camden federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Witkowski and his conspirators located oceanfront condominiums overbuilt by financially distressed developers in Wildwood Crest, New Jersey; premier real estate in vacation destinations in Georgia and South Carolina; and properties in New Jersey owned by financially distressed homeowners facing foreclosure. They then recruited “straw buyers” – people with good credit scores but lacking the financial resources to qualify for mortgage loans – to purchase those properties.

Witkowski and his conspirators created false documents, including fake W-2 forms, income tax returns, investment statements, and rental agreements, to make the straw buyers appear more creditworthy than they actually were. They also established numerous telephone lines for companies owned by some of the conspirators so that when a lender contacted the telephone number, the conspirators could falsely verify that a straw buyer was employed by the company listed on his or her fraudulent loan application.

Witkowski also caused fraudulent mortgage loan applications in the name of the straw buyers and supporting documents, which attributed to the straw buyers inflated income and assets, to be submitted to mortgage lenders. Once the loans were approved and the mortgage lenders sent the loan proceeds in connection with real estate closings on the properties, Witkowski and his conspirators had some of the funds wired or checks deposited into various accounts that he and his conspirators controlled.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Rodriguez sentenced Witkowski to three years of supervised release and ordered restitution of $13,105570. As part of his plea agreement, he must forfeit $2,412,899, representing the proceeds of the fraud.

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced the sentence.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher; and special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Diana Carrig of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Camden.

Defense counsel: Maggie Moy Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Camden

John Leadbeater, 59, Kearny, New Jersey, was sentenced to 60 months in prison for his role in a $13 million mortgage fraud scam that used phony documents and “straw buyers” to make illegal profits on overbuilt condos in Wildwood and Wildwood Crest, New Jersey.  Leadbeater previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Simandle to a superseding indictment charging him with conspiracy to  commit wire fraud.

According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court: Leadbeater and his conspirators located condominiums overbuilt by financially distressed developers in Wildwood and Wildwood Crest, New Jersey. They then recruited “straw buyers” from New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Arkansas, and California, to purchase those properties. The straw buyers had good credit scores, but lacked the financial resources to qualify for the mortgage loans. The conspirators created false documents, including loan applications that contained fraudulent financial and employment information, to make the straw buyers appear more credit-worthy and induce the lenders to make the loans.

Once the loans were approved, Leadbeater and his conspirators created and signed fraudulent closing documents in order to induce the mortgage lenders to send the loan proceeds in connection with real estate closings on the properties. Once the mortgage lenders sent the loan proceeds, Leadbeater and his conspirators took a portion of the proceeds, having funds wired or checks deposited into various accounts they controlled. They also distributed a portion of the proceeds to the other members of the conspiracy for their respective roles.

Leadbeater admitted to personally participating in fraudulent activity related to nine properties in Wildwood and Wildwood Crest. He admitted causing mortgage lenders to fund $4,711,557 worth of mortgages based on the bogus loan applications and closing documents prepared by him and his conspirators.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Simandle sentenced Leadbeater to five years of supervised release. A restitution hearing has been set for July 28, 2016. U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced the sentence and credited special agents from the FBI’s Atlantic City Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark; and special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation in Mays Landing, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen in Newark, for the investigation leading to the sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jacqueline M. Carle and Matthew T. Smith of the U.S. Attorney=s Office Criminal Division in Camden.  Defense counsel are Thomas J. Cammarata Esq. and Jeffrey Garrigan Esq., Jersey City

Ian Resnick, 41, Abescon, New Jersey was sentenced to 18 years in prison for his role in a $3 million conspiracy to scam customers by offering phony consulting services to owners of timeshares through the New Jersey-based Vacation Ownership Group LLC.  Resnick was previously convicted in September 2013 of one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, three counts of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud. He was convicted following a seven-week trial before U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman, who imposed the sentence in Camden, New Jersey, federal court.

According to documents filed in the case and the evidence presented at trial: Continue Reading…

Sung Ho Mo, a/k/a “Douglas Mo,” 53, Totowa, New Jersey, a self-employed loan broker, admitted using bogus documents and simultaneous applications at multiple banks to fraudulently obtain home equity lines of credit, resulting in losses of $1.3 million.  Mo pleaded guilty  before U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden to an information charging him with conspiracy to commit bank fraud.  He was previously arrested on August. 4, 2015 and released on bail.

According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court:

Mo was the primary owner and operator of “Douglas Mo Mortgage,” a mortgage brokerage business in New Jersey. From 2005 through January 2014, Mo conspired with others, including a tax preparer, to fraudulently obtain home equity lines of credit and first mortgages. Continue Reading…

Daniel Sheehan, 41, Gloucester City, New Jersey, and John Hoban, 42, Bellmawr, New Jersey, were indicted in connection with a scheme to defraud distressed homeowners seeking help out of more than $400,000, .  The pair is charged with wire fraud conspiracy and eight counts of wire fraud.  Sheehan is additionally charged with 18 wire fraud counts and one count of interstate transport of stolen property.  As a result of the alleged scheme, more than 110 people were defrauded, several of whom lost their homes. Continue Reading…

Randy Poulson, 44, Woolwich Township, New Jersey, was sentenced to 72 months in prison for scamming distressed homeowners into giving him their houses and then soliciting fake real estate investments from private investors – secured by those same properties – that netted him more than $3 million in illicit profits.  Poulson previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Renée Marie Bumb to Count One of an indictment charging him with mail fraud.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Poulson owned and operated Equity Capital Investments, LLC and Poulson Russo LLC and was the former president of the South Jersey Real Estate Investors Association. Paulson gave speeches, seminars, monthly dinners and various private tutorial sessions, purporting to teach real estate investing tips to individuals who paid fees to attend. Continue Reading…

Paul Watterson, 55, Mountainside, New Jersey, was sentenced to 15 months in prison for his role in a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme that used phony documents and straw buyers to make illegal profits on over-developed condominiums in the Wildwood, New Jersey, area.  Watterson previously pleaded guilty to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court: Continue Reading…