George Hajati, aka Gjergji Hajati, 30, Rocky Hill, Connecticut, and Justin Williams, 31, Newington, Connecticut, and Douglas Sheehan, 38, an attorney, have been charged by a grandy jury in a nine-count Indictment with conspiracy and wire fraud offenses stemming from an alleged Hartford, Connecticut-area mortgage fraud scheme.
The Indictment was returned on February 11, 2009. Following his recent extradition from Albania, Hajati appeared before United States Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel in Bridgeport and entered a plea of not guilty to the charges against him.
The Indictment alleges that, between September 2003 and November 2007, Hajati, using his company Connecticut Partners Mortgage (“CPM“), conspired with Williams, a CPM employee, Sheehan and others to deceive mortgage lending financial institutions into providing falsely inflated mortgage loans to real estate buyers for the purchase of property that was worth less than the amount of the loans. The Indictment alleges that CPM provided fraudulent financial statements to the lending institutions that inflated the sales prices of the properties, the down payments made by purchasers and the amount due to sellers, as well as other fraudulent information, in order to induce the institutions to provide the funds.
Acting U.S. Attorney Dannehy stated that the investigation is ongoing and, at this time, it is believed that the various lenders have suffered a loss of more than $1 million due to this alleged mortgage scheme.
According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, on November 14, 2007, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents conducted a court-authorized search of Connecticut Partners Mortgage on Weston Street in Hartford. On November 21, 2007, Hajati fled the United States to Albania. In January 2008, Hajati met Williams in Australia. In May 2008, the co-defendants traveled to Albania, where Hajati lived until he was 17-years-old, has relatives and is fluent in the language.
On March 17, 2009, approximately one month after Hajati and Williams were indicted by a grand jury in Hartford, Hajati was arrested by Albanian authorities after he attempted to cross the border of Albania and Montenegro. He was extradited to the United States on July 24.
Hajati and Williams are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and eight counts of wire fraud. Each charge carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years and a fine of up to $1 million.
Following his arraignment today, Hajati was released under electronic monitoring after posting a bond in the amount of $250,000, cosigned by family members and partially secured by property.
Williams was arraigned on March 31 following his voluntary return from Albania. He is released on a non-surety bond in the amount of $25,000.
On November 20, 2008, Sheehan waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Mark R. Kravitz in New Haven to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and four counts of wire fraud. He awaits sentencing.
Acting U.S. Attorney Dannehy stressed that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial at which it is the Government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Paul H. McConnell.