Archives For New York

Danny Noble, 49, Baldwin, New York was sentenced today to 4.5 to nine years in prison in connection with illegally transferring the titles of seven houses in Brooklyn, New York and two in Queens, New York from their true owners to himself or a corporation, then renting out some of the properties and selling others.

According to the indictment, between June 29, 2010 and March 31, 2015, the defendants falsely transferred title to seven Brooklyn properties: 71 Carlton Avenue, 104 Vanderbilt Avenue, 45 North Oxford Street and 70 Clermont Avenue, Fort Greene,; 1391 East 95th Street in Canarsie, 357 Jefferson Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant; 729 Essex Street in East New York all in Brooklyn, New York and two properties in Queens, New York: 94-05 108th Street in Jamaica and 187-05 Liberty Avenue in Hollis.

Five of the properties were transferred from the actual homeowners to Noble, according to the indictment, three were transferred to 69 Adelphi Street, LLC, and one to a third party. The defendants allegedly targeted the properties because the owners did not live in the houses and rarely visited them.

Once the titles were transferred, according to the indictment, the defendants carried out various scams in order to cash in on them. For example, Noble maintained control of 45 North Oxford Street, a recently renovated brownstone in Fort Greene, whose owner lived outside of the United States. Noble rented out two apartments in the brownstone, collecting $1,500 a month in rent for each of them. He also maintained control of the two houses in Queens, renting them out for various amounts.

In another facet of the scheme, concerning 1247 Putnam Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, Noble filed a fraudulent satisfaction of mortgage.

Furthermore, for example, with respect to 71 Carlton Avenue, 104 Vanderbilt Avenue, 70 Clermont Avenue, and 1391 East 95th Street, the defendants transferred the properties’ titles into the names of other, third parties.

Noble pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal possession of stolen property and fourth-degree conspiracy before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on April 27, 2016 and was sentenced today to an indeterminate term of 4.5 to nine years in prison. His co-defendant, Romelo Grey, 41, Freeport, New York, pleaded guilty to falsifying business records on August 16, 2016, and was sentenced to 1.5 to 3 years in prison.

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez made the announcement.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, the scheme was discovered after Grey and Noble transferred the title to the Canarsie house at 1391 East 95th Street to a third party. Grey visited the house with the buyer to inspect it, and told the tenants living there that they had to move out. The buyer then began renovating the house and those workers caught the eye of an employee of a business across the street, which was actually owned by the true owner of 1391 East 95th Street. That employee called the owner of the property, who called police. Further investigation led to the defendants’ connections to the other properties.

As part of the scheme, Noble, the leader, filed false documents with the New York City Department of Finance, Office of the City Register, which maintains land records and other real property filings in New York City, including records relating to ownership and encumbrances, such as liens and mortgages.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “In Brooklyn, we take real estate scams very seriously. The houses targeted in this fraud are worth millions of dollars. My prosecutors and investigators worked diligently to expose this fraudulent scheme and bring this defendant to justice.”

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Richard Farrell, Chief of the District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit, under the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division.

Marilyn Sanchez, 49, Brooklyn, New York was sentenced today for filing two fraudulent deeds and supporting documents with the New York City Register’s Office in order to fraudulently acquire ownership of two separate residential homes in Brooklyn, New York.

According to the indictment and statements made at Sanchez’s arraignment in Kings County Supreme Court, in January 2016 Marilyn Sanchez illegally transferred ownership of 477 Christopher Avenue, Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York from the lawful owners to herself by recording a deed and five supporting documents containing forged signatures with the New York City Register’s Office.

Additionally, in November 2016, Sanchez illegally transferred ownership of 271 East 32nd Street, East Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York by recording a deed and five supporting documents containing the forged signatures of the lawful owners with the New York City Register’s Office.

In both instances, the owners never signed the deed nor the supporting documents and they never gave Sanchez, or anyone else, permission to sign on their behalf.

On October 5, 2018, Sanchez pleaded guilty to two counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, before the Honorable Judge Miller in Kings County Supreme Court.

Sanchez was sentenced to 60 days in jail, followed by five years of probation. Sanchez also agreed to transfer ownership of the two property deeds back to the lawful owners. Today’s sentencing marks the first deed theft ruling resulting from an OAG investigation.

Attorney General Letitia James made the announcement.

Too often scammers turn the American Dream of homeownership into a nightmare,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “I’m pleased our office’s investigation has resulted in the return of these stolen deeds to their rightful owners. No one should have to worry about their property being stolen by scammers, and I encourage New Yorkers to follow my office’s tips to help protect themselves from potential foreclosure scams. I remind anyone who tries to harm hardworking New Yorkers that we will hold you accountable.”

The DOF Office of the Sheriff remains committed to investigate and arrest those responsible for deed fraud,” said New York City Sheriff Joseph Fucito. “The Attorney General’s prosecution of this case sends a strong message about the severity of the crime and the commitment to protect the homes of all New Yorkers. I want to commend Sheriff’s Detectives Francesca Rosa and Nene Kodjoe for their efforts in this investigation.

After years of working with New York homeowners, we’ve seen hundreds of scam and fraud cases, many of which result in major losses for families and their communities. But deed fraud cases are some of the most painful and complicated, because homeowners are often forced to fight for years to regain their properties,” said Christie Peale, CEO/Executive Director for the Center for NYC Neighborhoods. “We congratulate the Attorney General’s Office here in making sure that these homes were returned to their lawful owners. The OAG’s significant investments in fighting mortgage scams and deed theft through education and prosecution are particularly welcome, given how easy it is for bad actors to steal homes from hardworking families.”

Launched in December 2016 by the Attorney General’s office, the Foreclosure Rescue Scam Prevention Initiative is a grant program focused on enhancing outreach, education, and referral services for homeowners at risk of fraudulent foreclosure rescue schemes. The Foreclosure Rescue Scam Prevention Initiative is part of the office’s broader efforts to direct resources to at-risk homeowners, including investing $130 million in the Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP). Since 2012, HOPP has provided free, high-quality assistance to over 90,000 families to help avoid foreclosure of their homes.

To protect yourself from becoming a victim of a foreclosure rescue scam, Attorney General James offered the following tips:

  • Be skeptical of online ads or telephone callers that promise they can get you a mortgage modification or save your home from foreclosure. Only your bank or loan servicer can approve a loan modification.
  • Visit homeownerhelpny.com for information on how to avoid or report scams.
  • Do not give your personal financial information, such as your bank account number, social security number, or the name of your loan servicer, to a caller offering to help save you from foreclosure. Your bank will already have this information.
  • Never pay an up-front fee for mortgage-related services. It is a violation of New York law to charge upfront fees for such services, and violations should be reported to the Attorney General’s hotline at 1-855-HOME-456.
  • If you believe you have been scammed by a foreclosure rescue operator or a debt relief organization, submit a complaint to the New York State Attorney General’s Office: ny.gov/consumer-frauds/Filing-a-Consumer-Complaint

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Don Nguyen and Herman Wun of the Public Integrity Bureau, under the supervision of Real Estate Enforcement Unit Chief Travis Hill and Public Integrity Deputy Bureau Chief Stacy Aronowitz. The Criminal Justice Division is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General José Maldonado.

The Attorney General’s investigation was conducted by Investigator Walter Lynch under the supervision of Deputy Chief John McManus. The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief John Reidy.

The Attorney General thanks the New York City Sheriff’s Office for its assistance on this matter.

 

John F. Iacono, a/k/a Vito Yodice, 46 and Shpresa Gjekovic, a/k/a Hope Gjekovic a/k/a Hope Iacono a/k/a Hope Yodice a/k/a Shpresa Hadzovic, 32, have been charged with defrauding banks throughout New York State and laundering those criminal proceeds to further their scheme.

A joint investigation by the Attorney General’s Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau and the New York State Police revealed that Iacono and Gjekovic allegedly utilized shell companies, provided fake bank statements, W2s, paystubs, and tax returns, and forged cashier checks in order to solicit over $1.3 million in loans from multiple banks across the upstate region.

According to the indictment and statements made by the prosecutor at arraignment, between April 2016 and March 2017, Iacono and Gjekovic allegedly applied for mortgages, a construction loan, personal lines of credit, personal loans, a commercial loan, a debt consolidation loan, and a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) by grossly overstating their income, assets, and source of funds – all supported by fraudulent documentation. The couple also allegedly created entities, including but not limited to JF Iacono, LLC and Iacono, LLC, and purported to have worked for them for years. In reality, these companies were created just days prior to their submission of applications for hundreds of thousands of dollars in bank funds. In total, the couple stole over $460,000 from three financial institutions, and attempted to steal over $860,000 in additional proceeds from five financial institutions.

The investigation further revealed that Iacono and Gjekovic allegedly supplied over $125,000 in counterfeit cashiers checks to financial institutions, law firms, title companies, and the sellers of a Schoharie County, New York property in order to secure financing and establish residence in the area. Iacono and Gjekovic allegedly intended to turn the Schoharie County property into a swingers club, but after obtaining the property, instead rented it out as a hunting cabin and purported to raise money for children in need. The couple allegedly utilized online postings, including on Facebook and Airbnb, to advertise the rental property.

In addition, Iacono and Gjekovic allegedly concealed from financial institutions outstanding judgments against them totaling in excess of $1.4 million. Moreover, the couple allegedly laundered fraudulently obtained loan proceeds to fund deposits and cash to close on the real estate transactions, utilizing at least five financial institutions during the course of the year-long scheme.

The defendants also allegedly created a personal financial statement showing net worth in excess of $1.1 million, with cash on hand of $400,000, while in reality their account balances were in the negative. The defendants allegedly supplied false bank statements showing the purported assets to support this claim. The balances on these statements were allegedly grossly inflated, as the couple never had more than a few thousand dollars in the accounts – the vast majority of which was from other loans.

Both defendants were arrested on a 19-count indictment, including charges of Residential Mortgage Fraud in the Second Degree, Grand Larceny in the Second and Third Degrees, and Money Laundering in the Third Degree.

Iacono and Gjekovic are each charged in the Attorney General’s indictment with the following 19 felonies: Residential Mortgage Fraud in the Second Degree, a class C felony (one count); Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony (two counts); Money Laundering in the Third Degree, a class D felony (two counts); Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony (one count); Attempted Residential Mortgage Fraud in the Second Degree, a class D felony (one count); Attempted Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class D felony (three counts); Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument, a class D felony (four counts); Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony (four counts); and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony (one count).

Iacono was arraigned on December 20, 2018 before Schoharie County Court Judge George R. Bartlett, III. Bail was set in the amount of $175,000 cash or $350,000 bond. Gjekovic was arraigned on December 24, 2018 before Hon. Bartlett and bail was set in the amount of $75,000 cash or $150,000 bond. The defendants are scheduled to appear back in court January 16, 2019.

If convicted of all counts, Iacono and Gjekovic could each face up to 10 to 20 years in state prison.

Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood and State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II made the announcement.

As we allege, these defendants grossly inflated their assets and forged a number of documents in order to defraud multiple New York banks and attempt to steal over a million dollars,” said Attorney General UnderwoodWe have no tolerance for those who try to defraud New Yorkers in order to line their own pockets.”

Superintendent George P. Beach II said, “This couple concocted a series of devious schemes to knowingly defraud financial institutions out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. I commend the Attorney General’s Office, our State Police Financial Crimes Unit and other law enforcement partners for their hard work in exposing this fraud. This indictment should serve as a reminder that those who seek to carry out such deliberate scams will be held accountable for their crimes and brought to justice.”

The charges are merely allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Attorney General Underwood thanks the New York State Police Financial Crimes Unit, as well as Schoharie County District Attorney Susan J. Mallery, for their valuable assistance on this investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Philip V. Apruzzese of the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau, with the assistance of Legal Support Analysts Kira M. Russom, Caitlin Carmody, and Supervising Analyst Paul Strocko. The OAG investigation was conducted by Investigator Mark J. Terra, under the supervision of Supervising Investigator Mark Spencer and Deputy Bureau Chief Antoine Karam. The Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Stephanie Swenton and Deputy Bureau Chief Joseph D’Arrigo. The Criminal Division is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Alvin Bragg.

 

Edward Sypher, Jr., 41, Scarsdale, New York, formerly the Chief Financial Officer of Long Island mortgage lender Vanguard Funding, LLC (Vanguard), was sentenced today to 18 months’ imprisonment to be followed by three years’ supervised release for conspiring to commit wire and bank fraud in connection with the diversion of warehouse loans that Vanguard had fraudulently obtained purportedly to fund home mortgages and mortgage refinancing.

Vanguard was a 33-branch, mortgage lending institution licensed in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington.  Between August 2015 and March 2017, Sypher and his co-conspirators at Vanguard engaged in a multi-million dollar fraud scheme by falsely representing that the loan proceeds would fund specific mortgages, or refinance specific mortgages, for Vanguard clients.  Instead, Sypher and his co-conspirators diverted the funds to pay personal expenses and compensation, and to pay off loans they had previously obtained through fraudulent loan applications. http://www.mortgagefraudblog.com/top-executives-plead-guilty-8-9-million-warehouse-loan-fraud/

The amount of restitution will be determined by the Court at a later date.  Sypher was also ordered to pay $22,150.45 in forfeiture.

On December 10, 2018, Matthew T. Voss, Vanguard’s former Chief Operating Officer, was sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment for his role in the scheme.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Maria T. Vullo, Superintendent, New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), announced the sentence.

Edward Sypher, Jr., has been punished for deceiving his banking partners in order to divert millions of dollars to his own benefit and that of other Vanguard executives,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  “This Office, working hand-in-hand with our law enforcement partners, will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute business executives who choose to commit fraud as a means of getting ahead at the expense of the businesses and residents of our district.

When fraudsters treat investors like their own personal ATMs, using funds invested in good faith to line their own pockets, pay for personal expenses, and repay other fraudulent loans, confidence in the integrity of our financial systems suffers,” stated FBI Assistant-Director-in-Charge Sweeney.  “Thanks to the diligent work of the FBI and our partners, Sypher will be held accountable for his crimes.”

DFS is proud to have worked with the U.S. Attorney’s office and other law enforcement partners to bring this defendant to justice,” said DFS Superintendent Vullo.  “We will continue to combat the serious issue of fraud in order to safeguard the industry and protect consumers.”

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Business and Securities Fraud Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Whitman G.S. Knapp and Elizabeth Losey Macchiaverna are in charge of the prosecution.

New York DA Vance Releases Grand Jury Report Documenting Epidemic of Real Estate Theft Targeting Vulnerable New Yorkers D.A. Asks Lawmakers to Adopt Series of Reforms to Curb “Title Identity Theft,” or “Deed Fraud”.  Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced that a New York State Supreme Court Grand Jury has issued a report outlining a series of recommendations to curb a growing “epidemic” of residential real estate fraud, whose victims, according to the Grand Jury, “

Source: DA Vance Releases Grand Jury Report Documenting Epidemic of Real Estate Theft Targeting Vulnerable New Yorkers – Manhattan District Attorney’s Office

Matthew T. Voss, 43, Northport, New York, formerly the Chief Operating Officer of Long Island mortgage lender Vanguard Funding, LLC (Vanguard), was sentenced today to conspiring to commit wire and bank fraud in connection with the diversion of more than $8.9 million of warehouse loans that Vanguard had fraudulently obtained purportedly to fund home mortgages and mortgage refinancing.

Between August 2015 and March 2017, Voss and his co-conspirators at Vanguard engaged in a scheme whereby they obtained more than $8.9 million in short-term loans, referred to as warehouse loans, by falsely representing that the loan proceeds would fund specific mortgages, or refinance specific mortgages, for Vanguard clients.  Instead, Voss and his co-conspirators diverted the funds to pay personal expenses and compensation, and to pay off loans they had previously obtained through false loan applications.  https://www.justice.gov/usao-edny/pr/former-ceo-long-island-mortgage-lender-sentenced-24-months-imprisonment-89-million

Voss was sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment to be followed by three years’ supervised release.  The amount of restitution will be ordered by the Court at a later date.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Maria T. Vullo, Superintendent, New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), announced the sentence.

With today’s sentence, Matthew Voss has been held accountable for using his extensive knowledge of the mortgage industry to deceive banks that trusted and relied upon him as a business partner and divert money for his personal use,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  “This Office, together with our law enforcement partners, will vigorously investigate and prosecute those who commit fraud to advance their own financial interests at the expense of businesses and residents of our community.”

A compromised banking system threatens economic stability and the safety of the mortgage industry, which puts communities and the American institution of homeownership at risk,” stated FBI Assistant-Director-in-Charge Sweeney.  “Thanks to the dedicated work of our law enforcement partners, today’s sentence proves that those who use their expertise to deceive others for their own financial gain will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

As New York’s financial services regulator, DFS is proud to have worked with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and other law enforcement partners to hold this defendant accountable for his actions,” stated DFS Superintendent Vullo.  “DFS will continue to combat fraud and bring criminals to justice in order to safeguard the industry and protect consumers.”

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Business and Securities Fraud Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Whitman G.S. Knapp and Elizabeth Losey Macchiaverna are in charge of the prosecution.

Blanche O’Neal, 49, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York , a former New York City police officer, has been sentenced today to six months in jail and five years’ probation for transferring the title from a neglected three-family house in Bedford-Stuyvesant to herself. The defendant filed a deed transferring the property from the deceased owner’s nephew to herself in 2012, only to see her scheme unravel when the nephew was approached by an actual potential buyer in 2014.

According to trial testimony, on September 12, 2012, the defendant, who was an NYPD officer, executed a deed that stated that she bought the property, 23A Vernon Avenue, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York from the nephew of the deceased homeowner, Lillian Hudson, who died in 1993. The nephew and several relatives inherited the property, though it sat vacant and neglected for many years.

The defendant, according to trial testimony, falsely indicated in her filings with the New York City Department of Finance, Office of the City Register, that she purchased the property for $10,000 from the nephew and the deed was purportedly signed by him. The Office of the City Register recorded the deed on October 11, 2012.

Furthermore, in connection with a burglary involving the property, the defendant falsely testified before a grand jury on September 29, 2014, that she owned the property.

In 2014, the nephew and the other heirs were approached by a buyer in the form of a business entity known as 23A Vernon LLC. That is when Lillian Hudson’s heirs discovered the 2012 deed that was filed by the defendant.

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez made the announcement.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant has now been held accountable for this fraudulent real estate scheme. I will continue to protect Brooklyn homeowners whose valuable properties may be targeted by scam artists. I urge property owners to register their homes with ACRIS (Automated City Register Information System) so that they are automatically informed of changes made to documents associated with their property, such as occurred in this case.”

O’Neal was sentenced today to six months in jail and five years’ probation by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. She was convicted of first-degree perjury, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing in February following a bench trial before Justice Chun.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Frank Dudis and Assistant District Attorney Ellen Koenig of the District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit, and Assistant District Attorney Richard Farrell, Unit Chief, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.

 

James Bayfield, 46, Queens, New York was sentenced today to 21 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud.

Bayfield, a self-described mortgage specialist, was convicted by a federal jury in January 2017 for his role in a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme. http://www.mortgagefraudblog.com/?s=James+Bayfield

Between September 2008 and May 2011, Bayfield and his co-conspirators caused mortgage loan applications with false information to be submitted to lending institutions, including Amtrust, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, in connection with the purchase of residential properties located in Brooklyn and Queens, New York.  These applications contained fraudulently inflated purchase prices and false information about the assets and income of the purported purchasers, many of whom were paid to act as straw purchasers.  Bayfield and his co-conspirators also provided false down payment checks to make it appear as if the straw purchasers and other borrowers had made down payments on the properties.

To complete their scheme, Bayfield and his co-conspirators conducted simultaneous and secretive purchases and sales of the properties, sometimes called “flips,” at inflated prices.  Ultimately, the lending institutions issued millions of dollars of mortgage loans secured by properties with inflated appraisal values, and many of these loans were placed into default status.

Bayfield was also ordered to pay $184,651 in forfeiture.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced the sentencing.

Bayfield has portrayed himself as a mortgage specialist, but now stands exposed as a convicted thief who used his knowledge of real estate transactions to carry out his fraudulent schemes against lending institutions,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  “This Office will continue working with our law enforcement partners to vigorously prosecute those who commit mortgage fraud and enrich themselves at the expense of lenders left holding the loans.”  Mr. Donoghue thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General; the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General; the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General; and the New York State Department of Financial Services for their hard work and dedication over the course of this multi-year investigation and prosecution.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Business and Securities Fraud Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys David C. Pitluck, Mark E. Bini and Michael T. Keilty are in charge of the prosecution.

Mark Savransky, New York, pleaded guilty today to scamming 32 homeowners out of $568,000 in a mortgage modification scheme.

The defendant operated a mortgage modification business in Nassau County, New York using the name Mark Savran. Between 2008 and 2014, he promised 32 homeowners in Nassau County and elsewhere that after securing modifications, he would hold their mortgage payments in trust and forward them to the financial institutions servicing the homeowners’ mortgages.

Instead, the defendant converted the funds for personal use, stealing approximately $568,000 from these homeowners. Among other things, Savransky used the funds for ATM cash withdrawals, credit card payments, child support, car payments, gasoline, travel expenses, restaurants, grocery stores, department stores and Netflix.

Savransky’s clients were typically residential homeowners who had purchased their homes using a subprime adjustable rate mortgage sometime between 2006 and 2009. When the payments became more than the homeowner could afford, homeowners hired the defendant to assist in obtaining a mortgage modification.

Savransky requested that all paperwork from the bank be given to him and if additional paperwork was sent by the bank to the victim, he demanded that it be given to him immediately, preferably unopened.

The defendant then counseled clients to give him the monthly mortgage payment that was due under the modified mortgage. Savransky informed his clients that he would make the payments on their behalf and, in doing so, create a record of payment that would prevent a lender from denying that payments were made or from reneging on any mortgage modification that was obtained. At the defendant’s request, these payments were mostly made in cash or by check that did not include the payee. Savransky later completed the payee portion of the check, thereby giving him the means to misappropriate the funds.

 Because the mortgage payments weren’t made, lenders started to foreclose on the properties belonging to the defendant’s clients. When some of the homeowners complained to him, some of them received a limited amount of repayment.

Savransky’s victims include residents from Amityville, Baldwin, Bayside, Brentwood, the Bronx, Brooklyn, East Northport, Farmingdale, Hempstead, Hicksville, Huntington, Levittown, Lynbrook, Malverne, Merrick, Mount Vernon, New Hyde Park, Queens Village, Richmond Hill, Riverhead, Uniondale and, Westbury, New York.

The defendant was arrested in August 2015 by NCDA detective investigators and arraigned on grand jury indictment charges in October 2017.

Savransky pled guilty to two counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (a C felony) and one count of Scheme to Defraud Second Degree (an A misdemeanor)

The defendant faces a maximum of one to six years in prison when he is sentenced on January 10. He is due back in court on December 4.

The announcement was made by Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.

This defendant preyed on vulnerable homeowners during the height of the mortgage crisis and swindled them out of more than a half million dollars,” DA Singas said. “In many cases, homeowners didn’t know they were in trouble until lenders started foreclosing on their homes. I thank the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and the Suffolk County Police Department for referring these cases to us for prosecution.”

This case was initially referred to the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office by the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office. Additional cases were also referred by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in conjunction with the Suffolk County Police Department.

Deputy Bureau Chief Peter Mancuso of DA Singas’ Financial Crimes Bureau is prosecuting this case. Joseph Conway, Esq. represents the defendant.

 

Michael Arroyo, 60, Bronx, New York, and Rafael Popoteur, 67, Ridgefield Park, New Jersey,  a New York real estate broker and a Bergen County, New Jersey, homeowner were sentenced today for their respective roles in a $3.5 million 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, Arroyo and others conspired to fraudulently obtain multiple home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) from banks on residential properties in New Jersey and New York, including a residential property on Havermeyer Avenue, Bronx, New York. In 2013, Arroyo and others transferred ownership of the property to an individual living at the property and his family friend.

Arroyo and others then applied, in the family friend’s name, for two HELOCs from two banks using the Havermeyer Avenue 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 the family friend’s income without his knowledge. In addition, the equity in the property was far less than the amount of the HELOC loans that Arroyo and others applied for.

The victim banks eventually issued loans to the family friend in excess of $500,000. After the victim banks deposited money into the family friend’s bank accounts, portions of the funds were disbursed to Arroyo and others. Eventually, the family friend defaulted on the two HELOC loans.

Popoteur was a client of Arroyo and another broker. From 2012 through January 2014, Popoteur and the two real estate brokers, and others, conspired to fraudulently obtain multiple HELOCs from banks on a residential property in New Jersey. To get the banks to extend lines of credit they would not have otherwise approved, Popoteur and the real estate brokers executed a quitclaim deed to transfer ownership of a Ridgefield Park, New Jersey property to Popoteur, who also lived at the property.

Popoteur and the real estate brokers then applied for three HELOCs from multiple banks using the Ridgefield Park, New Jersey property as collateral. As the conspirators had done previously, they hid from the lenders the fact that the properties offered as collateral were 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 contained false information concerning Popoteur’s income, which was stated to be higher than his actual income.  At the time the applications were made, the value of the Ridgefield Park, New Jersey property that was unencumbered by a mortgage was far less than the amount of the HELOC loans Popoteur and the others applied for.

The victim banks eventually issued loans to Popoteur in excess of $495,000.  After the victim banks funded the HELOCs and deposited money into Popoteur’s bank accounts, Popoteur disbursed portions of it to the real estate brokers and others. In 2014, Popoteur defaulted on all three HELOC loans. http://www.mortgagefraudblog.com/?s=Rafael+Popoteur

The overall scheme resulted in $3.5 million in losses to the victim banks.

Arroyo was sentenced to 21 months in prison. He previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez in Newark federal court to an information charging him with conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

Popoteur was sentenced to three years of supervised release, including one year of house arrest. He previously pleaded guilty before Judge Vazquez to an information charging him with conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Vazquez sentenced Arroyo five years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito made the announcement.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Steven Perez in Newark, and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencings.

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