Barbara Lynnae Puro, 47, Savage, Minnesota, a real estate agent, was charged in the District of Minnesota by Information with participating in a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme that victimized lenders across the country. Puro allegedly arranged for homeowners to sell their properties to straw buyers at inflated prices. In each case, she then purportedly funneled to the scheme’s masterminds the difference between the amount a particular home seller would accept and that home’s inflated sale price. The Information specifically alleges that on November 20, 2006, she funneled by way of wire transfer $396,252.14 in fraud proceeds.
From August through November of 2006, Puro purportedly aided and abetted the scheme’s masterminds, Zack Zafer Dyab, 45, Golden Valley, Minnesota, and Julia Alexander Rozhansky, 45, Minnetonka, Minnesota. They were federally indicted in December of 2009 with supplying mortgage loan lenders with fraudulent documents to support loans well in excess of actual home prices.
For her part, Puro allegedly facilitated the sale of 15 of the 35 Twin Cities’ properties subject to the fraud scheme. As a result, Puro collected substantial real estate commissions and secured future business from Dyab and Rozhansky. The total loss attributable to Puro‘s actions is approximately $4,028,340.
If convicted, Puro faces a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. All sentence will be determined by a federal district court judge.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christian S. Wilton.
This law enforcement action is in part sponsored by the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. It 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, 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.
A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial