Woman Sentenced for Mortgage Fraud Scheme

Allison Tussey —  October 20, 2011 — Leave a comment

Andrea J. Palmucci, 50, East Haven, Connecticut, was sentenced by United States District Judge Christopher F. Droney in Hartford, Connecticut, to two years of probation, the first eight months of which Palmucci must spend in home confinement, for participating in a mortgage fraud scheme in New Haven County, Connecticut.  Judge Droney also ordered Palmucci to perform 200 hours of community service.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Palmucci was employed by ATZ Realty, 612 Main Street, East Haven, Connecticut, which was owned and operated by Abdelghany Antar.  From June 2006 to October 2007, Antar and Palmucci conspired to purchase 11 properties in New Haven County in Palmucci‘s name.  As part of the conspiracy, Antar and Palmucci made false statements to various mortgage lenders, including statements about Palmucci‘s income, assets, liabilities, employment, and intention to occupy the home as a primary residence. 

In addition, the deposits and down payments for the properties were paid out of bank accounts in Palmucci‘s name with funds owned and controlled by Antar.  After the closings, Palmucci quitclaimed the properties back to Antar or to entities that Antar owned or controlled.  Antar paid Palmucci a few thousand dollars for each home she purchased.

Through this scheme, Antar and Palmucci obtained approximately $2.759 million in fraudulent mortgages.  All of the properties they purchased have been foreclosed on, or are currently in foreclosure.

On May 24, 2011, Palmucci waived her right to indictment and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

On July 19, 2011, Antar waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud stemming both from this scheme and a separate $2 million mortgage fraud scheme he committed with respect to another 10 properties in the greater New Haven area.

On October 7, 2011, Judge Droney sentenced Antar to 37 months of imprisonment.

A hearing to determine the amount of restitution that Antar and Palmucci will be ordered to pay is scheduled for January 5, 2012.

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced the sentence.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted  by Assistant United States Attorney David T. Huang.

In July 2009, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced the formation of the Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force to investigate and prosecute mortgage fraud cases and related financial crimes occurring in Connecticut.  Citizens are encouraged to report any suspected mortgage fraud activity by calling 203-333-3512 and requesting the Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force, or by sending an email to ctmortgagefraud@ic.fbi.gov.

The Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force includes representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Internal Revenue Service ““ Criminal Investigation; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General; Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General, and State of Connecticut Department of Banking.

This case was brought in coordination with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which was established to wage an aggressive and coordinated effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources.  The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.

To report financial fraud crimes, and to learn more about the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, please visit www.stopfraud.gov

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Allison Tussey

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