Archives For Pennsylvania

Zaki M. Bey, 39, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 60 months in prison. Bey previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit loan and bank fraud, one count of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service, and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

According to court documents, Bey conspired with others to prepare and submit fraudulent mortgage applications to banks and lending institutions.  In 2007 and 2008, Bey successfully secured more than $2 million in residential loans on at least thirteen properties located in the Germantown section of Philadelphia and in New Jersey.  Bey and others created fraudulent loan applications on behalf of straw buyers that contained materially false information as to the straw buyers’ income, assets, and intent to occupy the residences.  Bey also furnished fraudulent records such as payroll account documents, paystubs, and financial statements to defraud financial institutions and lenders.  Bey’s company at the time, Natural Home Builders, was able to receive a payout for purported construction expenses ranging from $17,864.26 to $60,000 at the closing of each settlement.  Bey was not completing any construction on these properties, and obtained total settlement proceeds for construction costs of $435,074.26.

In late 2010 and early 2011, Bey filed fraudulent personal income tax returns for tax years 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.  Bey filed these tax returns claiming false tax withholding payments and false Forms 1099-OID (“Original Issue Discount”) income for his company, Natural Home Builders.  Bey attempted to receive total tax refunds from the IRS in the amount of $1,141,677.  Bey was only successful in receiving $148,296 from the IRS based on the fraudulent 2009 tax return he submitted.   After assessed a tax deficiency by the IRS, Bey mailed checks to the IRS from a closed bank account in an attempt to repay the fraudulent tax refund.

Beginning in 2010 to 2013, Bey engaged in a wire fraud conspiracy involving the submission of fraudulent auto loan applications.  Bey furnished fraudulent records such as payroll account documents, paystubs and financial statements to defraud automobile dealerships located in Philadelphia and New Jersey.  The false loan applications and fraudulent records caused the automobile dealerships to electronically submit false information to financial institutions and lenders.  Through the use of straw buyers, Bey was able to obtain at least 7 automobiles.

In addition to Bey’s 60 month prison sentence, he will also be required to serve 3 years’ supervised release and pay back $705,528.22 in restitution to multiple financial institutions and the Internal Revenue Service.

The sentence was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Louis D. Lappen.  The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.  It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James Pavlock.

Ralph Christopher Cirino was indicted in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on six counts of mail fraud, four counts of misrepresentation of a social security number, four counts of wire fraud, two counts of making false statements in mortgage loan applications and one count of unlawful possession of authentication feature.

According to the indictment, Cirino falsely reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor that two corporations, Fast Care Home Care P.C. and Juris Clarity were legitimate corporations with multiple employees earning wages in 2015 and 2016.  In fact, these companies did not conduct any business, have employees or pay wages and the employees were fictitious.  Cirino sought to obtain unemployment benefits by purporting to be several of the fictitious employees and by submitted unemployment claims on behalf of those fictitious employees and on his own behalf. On of the fictitious employee names identified in the indictment is Benjamin Hunt.

The indictment alleges that Cirino made false statements to American Internet Mortgage, Inc. and Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation for the purpose of influencing the actions of the mortgage companies on loans.  He caused loan applications containing knowing false statements to be submitted including an application in December 2016 to AIM falsely stating the applicant’s name was Benjamin Hunt, he was employed by Fast Care and earned a weekly salary of $1,960 and an application in March 2017 to Fairway falsely stating the applicant’s name was Benjamin Hunt, he was employed by Fastcare and earned a monthly salary of $9,880.

The indictment also seeks forfeiture of $87,259.

Eugene Peter Kenworthy, Jr., 50, appraiser, Ambler, Pennsylvania, was charged by Indictment with wire fraud, false statements for the purpose of influencing the Federal Housing Administration, aggravated identity theft, and failure to file a tax return.

The indictment alleges that, beginning as early as 1993, Kenworthy worked at Tech Review LTD, a real estate appraisal company owned by Kenworthy’s father.  Kenworthy began managing Tech Review after his father’s death in 2003 and sold the company in 2012 after which he formed two other companies, Global Appraisal Management and East Coast Appraisal Management.

According to the indictment, from March 2010 to February 2016, Kenworthy appraised approximately 714 properties which were the subject of HECM loan applications.  Kenworthy used the electronic signatures of five certified appraisers without their knowledge and consent to certify approximately 294 of those appraisals reports.  Those appraisers did not appraise the properties or write the reports.  Kenworthy used his own signature to certify the other approximately 420 appraisal reports he wrote. Most of the appraisals were for a single mortgage broker/origination company which paid Kenworthy about $450 per appraisal.

Also according to the indictment, Kenworthy made false statements in some of the HECM appraisal reports which resulted in falsely inflated valuations for the properties and, fraudulently inflated the HECM loan amounts. The indictment details several of these transactions.

As of July 2017, of the 714 properties for which Kenworthy wrote an appraisal report for a HECM, FHA had paid 53 claims totaling almost $3.7 million on foreclosed properties where the sales price of the home was insufficient to cover the HECM loan.

Kenworthy was added to the FHA appraiser roster in 1999 and, in or about January 2016, HUD suspended Kenworthy, barring him from performing FHA appraisals.

If convicted the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence is 166 years’ imprisonment, five years of supervised release, a $5,050,000 fine, and a $1,000 special assessment

The indictment was announced Acting United States Attorney Louis Lappen. The case was investigated by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of Inspector General and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Karen L. Grigsby.

James Nassida, 49, West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to one count of bank and wire fraud conspiracy before Senior United States District Judge Donetta Ambrose.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Nassida owned operated a mortgage brokerage business called Century III Home Equity (Century III), which assisted borrowers in obtaining loans collateralized by real estate. At the time of the events at issue, which was between 2002 and 2008, Century III was one of the largest mortgage broker businesses in the Western District of Pennsylvania, and during the course of that timeframe brokered hundreds of millions of dollars worth of loans using more than a dozen different lenders. Many of those loans, however, involved one or more aspects.

Some of the aspects of the fraud included the following:

  • Appraisals that fraudulently inflated the true value of the properties;
  • Settlement statements that falsely reflected that the borrowers made substantial payments associated with the purchases of real estate;
  • Settlement statements that failed to disclose secondary financing;
  • Settlement statements that failed to include cash payments charged by Century III and paid by the borrowers;
  • Settlement statements and closing documents that were backdated to reflect that the settlements had occurred on a date prior to the actual settlement date; and
  • Various loan documents, including loan approval forms, good faith estimates, and underwriting transmittal forms, that failed to disclose secondary financing and falsely represented the combined loan-to-value ratio.

The fraud also involved misrepresentations to some of the borrowers to induce them to enter into the transactions, including concealing the fees Century III received from lenders for the borrowers’ transactions and the impact of those fees on the borrowers’ interest rates; and concealing the nature of the mortgage products, including that some of the mortgage products could negatively amortize. Lastly, the fraud also involved James Nassida’s receipt of kickbacks from the settlement company that he failed to disclose to the borrowers and lenders, as required.

James Nassida submitted multiple fraudulent documents associated with loans in which he served as a loan officer. In addition, loan officers working under his direction regularly submitted false information to lenders and borrowers. Nassida also caused the submission of fake documents to the lender in connection with his purchase of a $300,000 vacation home near Seven Springs, including the following: (1) a settlement statement that overstated the sales price; (2) a loan application that falsely stated his income and assets; and (3) fake statements from an investment company that falsely verified that he had more than $600,000 in investment when he really had about $15,000. In the loan application, James Nassida reported that he earned approximately $980,000 in 2006, but he did not even file his tax returns in 2006, and his reported taxable income in 2004 and 2005 was not even close to that figure.

Judge Ambrose scheduled sentencing for January 10, 2018. The law provides for a total sentence of 30 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

The plea was announced by Acting United States Attorney Soo C. Song.

Ignacio Beato, 46, Hazleton, Pennsylvania, pled guilty before United States District Judge James M. Munley to conspiracy to engage in monetary transactions through a financial institution, with funds that were the proceeds of wire fraud. Beato is scheduled to be sentenced on August 31, 2017.

Beato, who was a licensed real estate agent, falsely represented to potential purchasers that he was authorized to sell vacant conventional and Federal Housing Administration insured mortgaged properties in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, when in fact, he did not have such authority. Between December 2013 and March 2015, Beato accepted $751,082 from individuals who believed they were purchasing properties. Beato then fraudulently converted that money to his own personal use.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, the Housing and Urban Development Office of the Inspector General, the Department of Homeland Security, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenny P. Roberts is prosecuting the case.

Drew Alia, 40, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, attorney, was sentenced to a 12 month and 1 day term of imprisonment for willfully failing to file federal income tax returns for tax years 2010 through 2013 . Alia operated a home mortgage rescue service that was designed to assist home owners who were facing foreclosure.

During the sentencing hearing before United States District Court Judge Paul Diamond, the Court noted that Alia had received approximately $1.6 million in gross income. Alia was charged, by Information, with four counts of failing to file returns resulting in a tax loss of $127,037. In addition to a term of imprisonment, Judge Diamond also ordered Alia to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service for the tax loss he caused after he is released from prison.

The sentenced was announced Acting United States Attorney Louis D. Lappen.  The case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Floyd J. Miller.

Ignacio Beato, 46, Hazleton, Pennsylvania, was charged in a one count criminal information on April 26, 2017, with conspiracy to engage in monetary transactions through a financial institution, with funds that were the proceeds of wire fraud.

The information alleges that Beato, who was a licensed real estate agent, and his coconspirators, engaged in interstate wire communications and Beato falsely represented to potential real estate purchasers that he was authorized to sell vacant conventional and Federal Housing Administration insured mortgaged properties in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, when in fact, he did not have such authority.

The information further alleges that Beato solicited and accepted money in the total amount of $751,082 from individuals who believed they were purchasing properties. Beato and his coconspirators fraudulently converted that money to their own personal use.

The United States also filed a plea agreement, which is subject to the approval of the Court, wherein it is indicated that Beato intends to plead guilty to the charges when he appears in federal court for his arraignment.

United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler made the announcement.  The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, the Housing and Urban Development Office of the Inspector General, the Department of Homeland Security, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenny P. Roberts is prosecuting the case.

The maximum penalty under federal law for this offense is 10 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine.

Drew Alia, 40, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pled guilty to an Information which charged him with willfully failing to file federal income tax returns for tax years 2010 through 2013 before United States District Court Judge Paul Diamond.

Alia, an attorney, according to the Information, operated a home mortgage rescue service which was designed to assist home owners who were facing foreclosure to secure financing in order to prevent a home mortgage foreclosure. The Information alleged that Alia realized gross income of $28,000 in 2010; $107,000 in 2011, $144,000 in 2012, and $71,000 in 2013 all of which he failed to report on federal income tax returns that he was required to file in each of the aforementioned years.

As we begin the 2017 filing season, American taxpayers are reminded that the term voluntary compliance means that each of us is responsible for filing a tax return when required and for paying the correct amount of tax,” said Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Acting SAC Gregory Floyd. “That responsibility should not be taken lightly. Mr. Alia chose to ignore his duty to file and pay taxes; thus he must be held accountable for his actions.”

Alia faces a maximum of 4 years of imprisonment, a fine of up to $400,000 and 1 year of supervised release when he sentenced.

The plea was announced by acting United States Attorney Louis D. Lappen.The case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division Philadelphia Field Office and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Floyd J. Miller.

Barry Horrow, 68, Glenn Mills, Pennsylvania, pled guilty to 4 counts of bank fraud.

As part of his guilty plea, Horrow, a Certified Public Accountant who owned and operated his own accounting company, Horrow and Associates, which operated in both Delaware and Chester Counties, admitted that he committed bank fraud by helping one of his clients, George Barnard of Newtown Square [(who owned Capital Financial Mortgage Corporation (“CFMC”)] and who was charged previously in an indictment with various offenses stemming from a $13 million fraud scheme who owned) to defraud lenders into issuing mortgages for 3 multi-million dollar New Jersey Shore beach mansions and a yacht based on false tax returns, false audit reports, and other false information. Horrow admitted that he repeatedly provided false tax returns for Barnard to submit to lenders on which Horrow inflated Barnard’s income by hundreds of thousands of dollars, when Horrow knew that the lenders were going to be relying upon the inflated income figures in approving Barnard’s loan requests.

Horrow faces a maximum sentence of 120 years’ imprisonment, a five-year period of supervised release, a $4,000,000 fine, a $400 special assessment, and a likely advisory sentencing guideline range of 41 – 51 months’ imprisonment. Horrow also agreed, as part of his plea, to make restitution of over $2,965,000.

The plea was announced by United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigative Division, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael S. Lowe.

George Barnard, 45, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, was indicted and charged with 24 counts of wire fraud, four counts of bank fraud, and three counts of filing a false tax return.  The indictment alleges that Barnard, who from 2005 to March 2013 was one of the two owners of Capital Financial Mortgage Corporation (“CFMC”), based in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, and also was the owner of several title companies, defrauded banks out of almost $13 million dollars and instead of using the money to fund mortgage loans for borrowers and pay off the borrowers’ existing mortgages, he took the money for his personal benefit, including buying yachts, luxury cars, multi-million dollar beach homes in Avalon, New Jersey, and paying the salary of a yacht captain. The indictment further alleges that in order to continue to have access to a large pool of money to fund his extravagant lifestyle, Barnard orchestrated a massive fraud scheme, which included selling other banks the mortgages that CFMC had written and representing to the lenders who purchasing those mortgages that they were first mortgages, when in reality they were worthless second mortgages.

The indictment alleges that while the tax returns Barnard filed with the IRS showed hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses, in reality Barnard had more than $2,300,000 in unreported income, and in order to convince other banks to issue mortgage loans to him so he could purchase yachts and multi-million dollar beach homes, Barnard gave false tax returns to the banks with inflated income figures, and on at least one occasion, told the bank that he was buying the beach home for more than $3,000,000 when in reality the sales price was $2,000,000. The indictment alleges that Barnard was able to conceal this deception by using his own title company to handle the closing of that loan and falsifying closing documents.

The indictment alleged that as a result of Barnard’s actions, lenders suffered losses of more than $12,700,000, and more than 25 borrowers who obtained refinance loans from CFMC were stuck with two mortgages on their homes after Barnard’s companies failed to pay off the borrowers’ existing first mortgages.

Barnard faces a maximum sentence of 669 years’ imprisonment, a five-year period of supervised release, a $12,300,000 fine, a $3,300 special assessment, and a likely advisory sentencing guideline range of 135 – 168 months’ imprisonment.

The indictment was announced by United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigative Division, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael S. Lowe.