Anthony Garvin, 52, Jersey City, New Jersey, a real estate investor has admitted conspiring to orchestrate a fraudulent home equity line of credit scheme that led to over $400,000 in losses.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Between 2011 and 2014, Garvin orchestrated a scheme to defraud banks by conspiring with others to fraudulently obtain multiple home equity lines of credit, known as HELOCs, on real estate that Garvin owned. To hide his fraud from lenders, Garvin and his conspirators prepared and submitted loan applications that contained lies and fake supporting documents, including fake pay stubs, W-2 forms, tax returns, bank account statements, and deeds. Garvin split his fraud proceeds with his conspirators and defaulted on all of the loans. Garvin’s scheme ultimately resulted in over $400,000 in loses to the lenders.

Garvin pleaded guilty by videoconference on Dec. 2, 2022, before U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden in Newark federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and four counts of bank fraud.

The count of bank fraud conspiracy and each count of bank fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison, a fine of $1 million or twice the gross gain to the defendants or twice the gross loss to others, whichever is greatest. Sentencing is scheduled for April 11, 2023.

Two conspirators previously pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger made the announcement today.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Robert Manchak, and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark, with the investigation leading to the guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Blake Coppotelli and Anthony Torntore of the District of New Jersey.

Lorin Kal Buckner, 66, Hamilton, Ohio, and Dessalines Sealy, 59,  Brooklyn, New York, were two of four defendants who were convicted of crimes related to their participation in a foreclosure rescue scheme that defrauded at least 780 financially distressed homeowners throughout the United States. The defendants preyed on homeowners who had defaulted on their mortgages and convinced the victims to pay to take part in fraudulent programs on the promise it would save their homes

According to court documents and trial testimony, from 2013 through 2018, the defendants took advantage of homeowners’ desperation to save their homes and used money from homeowner victims to personally enrich themselves.

Co-conspirators used companies to engage in a multi-level marketing scheme. The companies named in this case include:

  • MVP Home Solutions, LLC, also known as
    • Stay In or Walk Away;
  • Bolden Pinnacle Group Corp., also known as
    • Home Advisory Services Network
    • Home Advisory Services Group Inc.; and
  • Silverstein & Wolf Corp.

Defendants promised affiliates commissions by recruiting distressed homeowners to the above-named companies.

They used multiple ways to recruit affiliates, including conference calls and direct mailings. For example, some co-conspirators hosted weekly conference calls where participants from across the country dialed in to hear details of the scheme and share sales strategies. During the calls, defendants encouraged affiliates to recruit homeowners to their companies on the promise of easy money.

Affiliates were encouraged to be aggressive in recruiting homeowners. Affiliates used online databases and court records to identify vulnerable, financially distressed homeowners who had recently received notice of foreclosure on their home.

Co-conspirators mailed more than 56,000 postcards in the Southern District of Ohio and elsewhere promising that they could “stop foreclosure” or “stop the sheriff sale” for a fixed fee. Co-conspirators also reached out to homeowners using Craigslist ads, websites, email and social media platforms.

On the promise of reducing or eliminating mortgage obligations in exchange for a fee, initial recruiters would collect payments from homeowners and refer the victims to the co-conspirator companies.

Among other things, the referral programs promised:

  • to negotiate with mortgage lenders on the homeowners’ behalf for the purchase of the mortgage notes at a discount;
  • to negotiate the sale of their home and release of their mortgage loans through a short sale and/or deed in lieu of foreclosure sale;
  • to stop an imminent foreclosure sale;
  • to remove the mortgage lien via a tender offer; and
  • achieve short sale prices at a fraction of the value of the outstanding lien/note.

Further, defendants represented that they had “proprietary” methods or “legal tactics” to help homeowners stall or completely avoid foreclosure. In actuality, the defendants persuaded homeowners to file chapter 13 bankruptcies to delay foreclosure actions.

Defendants filed skeletal bankruptcy petitions that they called “pump fakes” or “missiles,” These petitions intentionally failed to disclose the co-conspirators as preparers giving the appearance that the homeowners had filed the petitions pro se. Any relief from foreclosure delay was temporary until the bankruptcy court dismissed the proceeding.

Buckner and Sealy’s verdicts were announced today following the trial before Senior U.S. District Judge Michael R. Barrett. The other two trial defendants, Joel Harvey, 40, Cincinnati, Ohio and Garrett Stevenson, 45, Cincinnati, Ohio, pleaded guilty during the trial.

The jury convicted Buckner and Sealy of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud as well as conspiracy to commit bankruptcy fraud.

Buckner, Sealy, Harvey and Stevenson are four of 13 total defendants in this case.

The defendants took advantage of folks’ financial despair and emotional vulnerabilities to fill their own pockets,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker. “It was a priority for our office and our law enforcement partners to address this nationwide foreclosure scheme.”

Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Robert Manchak, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Housing Finance Agency –  Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG), Northeast Region; J. William Rivers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division; Lesley C. Allison, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Pittsburgh Division; and Philip R. Bartlett, Inspector in Charge, USPIS, New York Division, announced today’s verdict. Assistant United States Attorneys Ebunoluwa A. Taiwo and Timothy S. Mangan are representing the United States in this case.

 

 

Victor Santos, aka Vitor Santos, 63, Watchung, New Jersey, and Fausto Simoes, 69, Millington, New Jersey, a New Jersey real estate developer and attorney each admitted today to conspiring to orchestrate a mortgage fraud scheme that led to over $3.5 million in losses.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From September 2007 through November 2008, Santos, a real estate developer, and Simoes, an attorney, conspired with each other and others to fraudulently obtain mortgage loans with a total value of more than $4 million. Santos orchestrated the scheme to recruit fake, or “straw” buyers to purchase 12 properties in Newark. Using the identity and credit of these straw buyers allowed Santos, Simoes, and their conspirators to conceal their identities from the lender as the actual purchasers of the properties. Santos and others induced people to be straw buyers by agreeing to pay each straw buyer at least $5,000, secure tenants to lease the purchased properties, and cover costs associated with the property, including fees associated with the real estate purchases and the mortgage payments on each of the fraudulently obtained mortgages. Santos, Simoes, and others also caused the submission of fraudulent and false loan applications and documents to the mortgage lender.

Simoes conducted the closings of 10 of the fraudulent transactions and helped perpetuate the fraud by falsely reporting that the straw buyers were providing the cash required at closing when, in fact, Simoes received those funds from a shell company controlled by Santos and another conspirator. For several transactions, Simoes also failed to disclose to the lender that the shell company controlled by Santos and another conspirator would receive a substantial payout from the loan proceeds.

Shortly after the properties were acquired, Santos and his conspirators broke their promises to pay the mortgages. The straw buyers, in whose names the mortgages were obtained and thus were responsible for the payments, did not have enough money to pay the fraudulently obtained mortgages and defaulted, which caused the lender, Fannie Mae, and insurers to lose more than $3.5 million.

Conspiracy to commit bank fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison, a fine of $1 million or twice the gross gain to the defendants or twice the gross loss to others whichever is greatest. Sentencing for Santos is scheduled for April 12, 2023, and for Simoes, April 13, 2023.

Two other conspirators previously pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger made the announcement.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Robert Manchak, and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark, with the investigation leading to the guilty pleas.

The government is represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charlie Divine and Kevin DiGregory of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General, assigned to U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.

Laura R. Johnson, 47, Thomas Johnson, Sr., 54, and Cheryl M. Ashley, 72, all residents of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, were sentenced earlier this week, collectively to more than 21 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with a scheme to take ownership of more than a dozen real properties without the consent or knowledge of the actual owners.

Public records reflect that the defendants used fraudulent documents from 2014 until 2019 to obtain titles to homes and other properties.  The defendants primarily targeted real properties that had delinquent property taxes and therefore were subject to being auctioned by the Oklahoma County Treasurer’s Office.  By paying off one or more years of back taxes, the defendants caused the properties to be removed from the county tax auction.  The defendants then claimed they had purchased the properties at the county tax auction, when in fact they had filed fraudulent warranty deeds to transfer properties into the names of fictitious companies and individuals.  The conspiracy also included fraudulent confidential stamp tax affidavits and fake mortgages, all of which contained forged notary signatures and seals.

Some homeowners vacated their homes based on phony eviction notices.  When certain victims fought the takeover of their homes in court, the defendants filed pleadings with the names of fictitious lawyers and submitted affidavits in court signed by fictitious people.

The defendants targeted one home that had been owned by a woman who died in 2012.  After they gained control of the decedent’s property, the defendants used bank records they found in the home and forged a power of attorney to lie to the bank in an attempt to withdraw more than $100,000 from the decedent’s bank account.  When that attempt failed, the conspirators attempted to steal money by writing forged checks on the decedent’s account and causing electronic transfers out of the account for their personal benefit.  They also filed a false will in Oklahoma County District Court after the woman’s nephew learned of the death and filed a probate action.  Based on the fraudulent will, the court appointed Laura Johnson as the personal representative of the estate, which enabled her to withdraw approximately $146,000 remaining in the decedent’s bank accounts and obtain more than $45,000 from her oil and gas interests.

On December 19, 2019, a federal grand jury returned a 16-count Indictment against the defendants.  The federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment on June 16, 2020, which added additional charges.  On November 17, 2020, each defendant pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

At sentencings earlier this week, Chief United States District Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti found the defendants’ conduct preyed on more than a dozen victims, many of whom were vulnerable due to their age or financial status.  Judge DeGiusti sentenced the defendants as follows:

  • Laura R. Johnson was sentenced on November 14, 2022, to 151 months in federal prison. This term of imprisonment will be followed by 4 years of supervised release.  She was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal Service at sentencing.
  • Thomas Johnson, Sr. was sentenced on November 15, 2022, to 42 months in federal prison.  This term of imprisonment will be followed by 3 years of supervised release.
  • Cheryl M. Ashley was sentenced on November 16, 2022, to 60 months in federal prison. This term of imprisonment will be followed by 3 years of supervised release.

In addition, the Court will order the defendants to pay restitution to victims after a separate restitution hearing in approximately 90 days.

The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester.

This case is the result of an investigation by the United States Secret Service and the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica L. Perry prosecuted the case.

Reference is made to public filings for more information.

Adolfo Schoneke, 45, Torrance, California, who along with his sister and other co-conspirators participated in a $6 million real estate scam that listed homes for sale without owners’ consent and collected money from multiple would-be buyers, was sentenced today.

Schoneke and his sister, along with co-conspirators, operated real estate and escrow companies based in Cerritos, La Palma and Long Beach, California under a variety of names, including MCR and West Coast Realty Services. Schoneke and the other members of the conspiracy located properties to list for sale – even though they did not intend to sell the properties to anyone, and in many instances the properties were not for sale at all.

The properties were listed on real estate websites such as the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and were marketed as short sale opportunities. In some cases, the homes were marketed through open houses arranged by tricking homeowners or occupants into allowing their homes to be used.

Multiple offers were accepted for each of the not-for-sale properties, but the co-conspirators hid this fact from the victims and instead led victims to believe their offer was the only one accepted. The co-conspirators strung victims along – sometimes for years – by telling them closings were being delayed because lenders needed to approve the purported short sales.

Office workers opened bank accounts to hide the co-conspirators’ involvement in the fraud. Those accounts were used to receive down payments on the homes and other payments from victims who were convinced to transfer the full “purchase price” after receiving forged short sale approval letters. The co-conspirators directed the office workers to withdraw large amounts of cash from these accounts, which made the proceeds harder to trace.

Schoneke “and his co-conspirators used numerous properties to further the fraudulent scheme, and collected more than $11.7 million from victims as part of the scheme (involving more than 860 transfers from approximately 750 or more victims),” according to the sentencing memo. “Although some of the victims were paid back, the scheme caused more than $6 million in losses to nearly 400 victims.

The fraud scheme [Schoneke] invented, proposed to his co-conspirators, and carried out involved uniquely devious means designed to steal money from as many victims as possible,” according to a sentencing memorandum filed by prosecutors. “Playing on the dream of home ownership and seemingly out of reach home prices, [Schoneke] figured out a way to ‘sell’ homes that he did not own and had no business in listing for sale.

Schoneke, who pleaded guilty in May, 2022, to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, was sentenced by United States District Judge R. Gary Klausner. A restitution hearing was scheduled for December 12, 2022.

Schoneke’s sister, Bianca Gonzalez, 39, pleaded guilty in April,2022, admitting her role in the wire fraud scheme, and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 22, 2023.

In a related case, Mario Gonzalez (no relation to Bianca Gonzalez), 51, Garden Grove, California pleaded guilty in 2019 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced on April 3, 2023.

The FBI and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General investigated this matter. The investigation was initiated by numerous complaints to the Long Beach Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, both of which provided substantial assistance during the federal investigation.

Assistant United States Attorney Kerry L. Quinn of the Major Frauds Section is prosecuting this case.

George Kritopoulos, 50, Salem, Massachusetts, a real estate developer was sentenced to four years in prison today in connection with a decade-long mortgage fraud scheme involving at least two dozen loan transactions, totaling $6.5 million that resulted in more than $3.8 million in losses to lenders.

Kritopoulos was originally charged in September 2018 along with co-defendants Joseph Bates III and David Plunkett.

From 2006 through 2015, Kritopoulos, Bates and others engaged in a scheme to defraud banks and other financial institutions by causing false information to be submitted to those institutions on behalf of borrowers – people recruited to purchase properties – located primarily in Salem. The properties were usually multi-family buildings with two-to-four units, which the conspirators then converted into condominiums. Kritopoulos recruited new borrowers to purchase the individual condominium units, which were also financed by mortgage loans obtained by fraud.

The false information submitted to lenders included, among other things, representations concerning the borrowers’ employment, income, assets and intent to occupy the property. Specifically, the false employment information included representations that borrowers were employed by entities that were, in fact, shell companies “owned” by Kritopoulos and were used to advance the fraudulent scheme. The employment information also included false representations about the income that the borrowers received from the entities, when, in fact, the borrowers received little or no income from them. Kritopoulos brought newly recruited borrowers to Plunkett, who then prepared tax returns that contained false and inflated income. Some of those tax returns were submitted to lenders in support of the fraudulent loan applications.

Since the borrowers did not have the financial ability to repay the loans, in all but two instances among 21 properties, they defaulted on their loan payments, resulting in foreclosures and losses to the lenders.

In addition, Kritopoulos sought to obstruct the federal criminal investigation into the mortgage fraud scheme by encouraging Bates and Plunkett to make false statements and create false documents he hoped would make the companies appear to have been legitimate.

Kritopoulos was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Patti B. Saris to four years in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release. The judge reserved determination on an order of restitution. On May 27, 2022, Kritopoulos was convicted by a federal jury of one count of conspiracy, two counts of wire fraud, six counts of bank fraud, one count of aiding the preparation of a false income tax return and one count of obstruction of justice.

Bates pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, three counts of wire fraud affecting a financial institution and two counts of bank fraud in October 2018 and is scheduled to be sentenced on December 1, 2022. Plunkett pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of aiding in the submission of false tax returns in February 2019 and is scheduled to be sentenced on December 14, 2022

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Joleen D. Simpson, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, Boston Office; and Christina Scaringi, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, Northeastern Regional Office made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the Salem Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Victor A. Wild, of Rollins’ Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit, and Brian M. LaMacchia, of Rollins’ Affirmative Civil Enforcement Unit prosecuted the case.

Michael P. Flavin, 39, Quincy, Massachusetts, real estate broker was sentenced in federal court in Boston today for operating a scheme in which he falsely marketed properties that were not for sale, or had already been sold, and then stole the buyers’ real estate deposits.

Between 2017 and April 2020, Flavin solicited deposits on real estate transactions by marketing numerous real estate properties that were not actually for sale. In each case, Flavin executed purchase and sale agreements and received deposit checks from or on behalf of the potential buyers, even though the actual owners of the properties had not agreed to sell their properties or to sell them to those buyers. Flavin forged the signatures of the sellers on the purported purchase and sale agreements. Over this period of approximately three years, Flavin cashed more than 60 deposit checks totaling approximately $1.8 million.

Flavin was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release. The Court reserved imposing a restitution order until a later date. On Dec. 17, 2021, Flavin pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Victor A. Wild of Rollins’ Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit prosecuted the case.

James John Melis, 52, Largo, Florida has been indicted on four counts of wire fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and three counts of aggravated identity theft.

The indictment charges Melis with carrying out a mortgage origination fraud scheme against a financial institution for two properties he owned. To deceive the mortgage lender into believing he was a qualified borrower, Melis used the personal identification information of another person on loan applications, and prepared and submitted false and fraudulent IRS income tax returns, fictitious satisfactions of mortgages falsely representing that his properties had equity, and lease agreements falsely showing he received substantial rental income. As part of this scheme, Melis used the means of identification of other individuals and forged their signatures on the fictitious satisfactions of mortgage and phony lease agreements submitted to the mortgage lender. Based on Melis’ misrepresentations, the financial institution approved and funded both mortgage loans.

Separately, Melis abused his position as business manager at a private school in Tampa by attaching his personal bank account to the school’s PayPal account without authorization. When parents made tuition payments to the school’s account, Melis initiated fraudulent electronic funds transfers to his personal account. He then spent the stolen funds on travel and luxury items, such as jewelry.

If convicted, Melis faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for each wire fraud count, 30 years for each bank fraud count, and a consecutive mandatory penalty of 2 years’ imprisonment for the aggravated identity theft counts.  The indictment also notifies Melis that the United States is seeking an order of forfeiture in the amount of $1.1 million, the proceeds of the charged criminal conduct.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg made the announcement

This case was investigated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  It will be prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Chris Poor.

 

Edward E. Bohm, 44, Smithtown, New York, formerly the President of Sales and part-owner of mortgage lender Vanguard Funding, LLC (Vanguard), based in Garden City, New York was sentenced today to 24 months’ imprisonment in connection with the diversion of more than $8.9 million of warehouse loans that Vanguard had fraudulently obtained purportedly to fund home mortgages and mortgage refinancing.

Between August 2015 and March 2017, Bohm and his co-conspirators at Vanguard engaged in a scheme in which they obtained more than $8.9 million in short-term loans, referred to as warehouse loans, by falsely representing that the loan proceeds would fund specific mortgages, or refinance specific mortgages, for Vanguard clients.  Instead, Bohm and his co-conspirators diverted the funds to pay personal expenses and compensation, and to pay off loans they had previously obtained through false loan applications.

Bohm is the third defendant to be sentenced in connection with this scheme.  On February 6, 2019, Vanguard Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Edward J. Sypher, Jr., was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment and restitution in the amount of $3,488,615.42 following his conviction on conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud charges.  On February 26, 2019, Vanguard Chief Operating Officer Matthew T. Voss was sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment and $3,488,615.42 restitution following his conviction on conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud charges.

Bohm was also ordered to pay $3,488,615.42 in restitution and $1,500,000 in criminal forfeiture.  In February 2019, Bohm pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire and bank fraud.

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Adrienne A. Harris, Superintendent, New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), announced the sentence.

With today’s sentence, Edward Bohm has been deservedly punished for his role in a fraudulent scheme that deceived banks that trusted and relied upon him as a business partner.  Bohm diverted the loan proceeds to, among other things, pay tens of thousands of dollars in monthly personal credit card expenses and finance the luxury house in which he lived,” stated United States Attorney Peace.  “This Office, together with our law enforcement partners, will vigorously investigate and prosecute those who commit fraud to advance their own financial interests at the expense of businesses and residents of our district.

Edward Bohm and his associates at Vanguard Funding defrauded the financial institutions that provide critical residential mortgage funding, helping themselves to the short-term loans they falsely claimed were on behalf of consumers,” stated DFS Superintendent Harris.  “As New York’s financial services regulator, I am proud of DFS’s mortgage banking examiners and criminal investigators who assisted in the investigation that brought Bohm to justice, and who will continue to root out fraud on behalf of all New Yorkers.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Whitman G.S. Knapp, with assistance from Special Agent Martin Sullivan of the Office’s Business and Securities Fraud Section.  Assistant United States Attorney Madeline O’Connor of the Office’s Asset Recovery Section is handling forfeiture matters.

Barry Wayne Plunkett Jr., 62, and Nancy Plunkett, 57, both of Hyannis Port, Massachusetts a former Massachusetts attorney and his wife have been sentenced in federal court in Boston in connection with various mortgage fraud schemes.

The defendants engaged in several bank fraud schemes. In one scheme, from September 2012 to July 2016, the defendants defrauded six mortgage lenders and 14 homeowners for whom the Plunkett Law Firm handled the closings for new mortgage loans to refinance residential properties. The Plunketts informed the mortgage lenders that pre-existing mortgages were paid off from the new loan proceeds when, in fact, they intentionally failed to pay off the prior liens and instead converted more than $1 million in payoff funds for their own purposes.

In other bank fraud schemes, between April 2015 and March 2018, the Plunketts fraudulently used various names, entities and false documents to obtain three successive mortgage loans on their home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts in amounts of $412,000, $470,000 and $1.2 million. The defendants pledged as collateral a property in Hyannis Port that was held in a family trust for which Barry Plunkett was one of three beneficiaries. Both defendants participated in providing false documents to the lenders, including false title reports and other records to falsely represent that the property was free and clear of existing mortgage liens and forged documents in the names of other people. The defendants also made misrepresentations to a lender that Nancy Plunkett was a single woman living in Wellesley who was purchasing the property in her maiden name as a business investment when, in fact, the defendants had been married since 2014 and the property was their residence.

Barry Plunkett was sentenced to 78 months in prison and five years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay restitution of $3,236,466 and forfeiture of $3,221,403. Nancy Plunkett was sentenced to one year and one day in prison and five years of supervised release. She was also ordered to pay restitution of $3,054,759, jointly and severally with Barry Plunkett, and forfeiture of $3,221,403. On March 4, 2022, Barry Plunkett pleaded guilty to five counts of bank fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of tax evasion. On the same date, Nancy Plunkett pleaded guilty to five counts of bank fraud.

Prior to being disbarred in October 2017, Barry Plunkett owned and operated the Plunkett Law Firm where his wife, Nancy Plunkett, served as his office assistant and paralegal.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Joleen D. Simpson, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston; and Robert Manchak, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General, Northeast Region made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Victor A. Wild and Mackenzie Queenin of Rollins’ Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit and Carol Head, Chief of Rollins’ Asset Recovery Unit, prosecuted the case.