Archives For refinance fraud

Mark Andreotti, 47, Wyckoff, New Jersey, a former settlement agent, was sentenced today to 144 months in prison for defrauding banks out of $1.1 million using phony loan applications for properties in Bergen and Morris Counties, New Jersey, and for failing to pay over $450,000 in personal income taxes.

Andreotti was previously convicted on all six counts of an indictment charging him with bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, tax evasion, and failure to file tax returns..http://www.mortgagefraudblog.com/?s=Andreotti

According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:

In January 2010, Andreotti submitted a loan application to a bank requesting $625,000 to refinance the mortgage on his house in Wyckoff, New Jersey. Andreotti, who owned and operated Metropolitan Title and Abstract (Metropolitan), used Metropolitan as the settlement agent on the transaction. After the bank transferred the $625,000 for the refinance to Metropolitan’s escrow account, Andreotti spent the money on personal expenses instead of paying off the first mortgage on the house.

In April 2011, Andreotti conspired with another individual who worked as a real estate attorney to obtain $480,000 by claiming that the money would be used to refinance the mortgage on the attorney’s house in Montville, New Jersey. After the bank transferred the money for the refinance to Metropolitan’s escrow account, Andreotti kept $110,000 for himself before transferring the remaining funds to the other conspirator.

In 2010, the IRS initiated collection actions against Andreotti for unpaid personal income taxes. Despite numerous liens and levies and having five rental income properties in addition to his primary residence, Andreotti continued to evade his taxes. He also failed to file tax returns for the tax years 2010 and 2011.

Andreotti was convicted following a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton, who imposed the sentence in Newark federal court.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Wigenton sentenced Andreotti to five years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of over $2.1 million.

U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito made the announcement.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Steven Perez in Newark; special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark; special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen in Newark; and special agents with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, with the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shana Chen in of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Charlie Divine of the Federal Housing and Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General.

Defense counsel: Marc Neff, Esq., of Marlton

David Harris Lavine, 58, Rockville, Maryland, was indicted by a grand jury on charges of theft of bank funds by a bank officer and bank fraud and Lavine and Charles L. Tobias, 56, Potomac, Maryland were indicted for conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and tax evasion.

From March 2010 until January 2011, Lavine was the Acting President of CFG Community Bank.  From January 2011 until August 2011, Lavine was president of the bank affiliate, Capital Financial Ventures, LLC. According to the indictment, Lavine, while acting President, diverted $100,000 of bank funds to his own benefit.  The indictment also charges that while president of the bank affiliate, Lavine devised a scheme to defraud CFG Community Bank, a state member bank supervised by the Federal Reserve Board, through the re-finance of bank-owned mortgage loans and the diversion of loan proceeds to his personal benefit and the benefit of a friend.

According to court documents, Lavine used his position at Capital Financial Ventures to pose as the CEO/President of CFG Community Bank. For example, Lavine invited the borrowers of two loans with balances totaling over $7.5 million, to refinance those loans with other financial institutions for a lower mortgage and pay off CFG Community Bank.  At Lavine’s direction, the settlement company sent the mortgage loan payoff not to CFG Community Bank but to another company so that Lavine could divert in excess of $775,000.   Lavine created false correspondence with the loan borrowers to provide to CFG Community Bank to conceal the diversion from CFG Community Bank.

According to the indictment, Lavine and Tobias owned Capital T Partners Brookfield, LLC, a Maryland limited liability corporation. In the fall 2011, Lavine and Tobias decided to realize a profit from a group of non-performing mortgages by fraudulently “donating” some of the mortgages to a charity as an in-kind donation and thereby receiving a valuable tax deduction for Capital T Partners Brookfield which would pass through to their personal income tax returns.  Lavine is also charged with tax evasion for two years for failing to report the monies he received through the bank offenses and using the fraudulent charitable contribution as a deduction.  Tobias is charged with tax evasion for failing to report income and also using the fraudulent charitable deduction.

The maximum possible penalties for the bank offenses are thirty years in prison and/or a $1 million fine per count and 5 years in prison and /or $250,000 per count for the tax charges.

The indictment was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Stephen M. Schenning; Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Kimberly Lappin of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; Assistant Inspector General Gerald Maye of the Federal Reserve Board Office of Inspector General and Special Agent in Charge Michael McGill of the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General.

Acting United States Attorney Stephen M. Schenning commended the IRS, FBI, the Office of Inspector General for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and SSA-IG for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Schenning thanked Assistant United States Attorney Joyce K. McDonald who is prosecuting the case.