Archives For Mortgage Fraud

Nathaniel Anderson, 56, Willingboro Township, New Jersey, a town councilman and the deputy mayor of Willingboro in Burlington County, New Jersey, and his business associate Chrisone D. Anderson, 56, Sicklerville, New Jersey, were charged with conducting a scheme to discharge the deputy mayor’s mortgage obligation on his property through a fraudulent short sale.

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

From March 2015 through June 2017, Nathaniel Anderson and Chrisone D. Anderson conspired and agreed with one another to orchestrate a fraudulent short sale of a property in Willingboro from Nathaniel Anderson to Chrisone D. Anderson.

As part of the conspiracy to defraud a government sponsored enterprise to discharge a mortgage obligation on Nathaniel Anderson’s property in Willingboro and to induce a mortgage lending business to issue a new mortgage on the property, Chrisone D. Anderson executed – and Nathaniel D. Anderson aided and abetted the execution of – mortgage documents containing materially false representations. These included that the short sale was an arm’s length transaction, that Chrisone D. Anderson did not have a prior business relationship with Nathaniel Anderson, that Nathaniel Anderson would not continue to occupy the property as his residence following the short sale, and that Chrisone D. Anderson would occupy the property as her primary residence.

As a result of the fraudulent short sale, the government sponsored enterprise discharged Nathaniel Anderson’s mortgage obligation and suffered a loss of over $120,000, and the victim lender issued a new mortgage on the property. During a May 2022 interview, Chrisone D. Anderson made false statements to an agent of the FBI concerning the short sale.

The charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution, bank fraud, and making false statements on a loan application are each punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of up to $1 million. The charges of making false statements to a federal agent are each punishable by a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a maximum fine of up to $250,000.

Additionally, Chrisone D. Anderson is charged with two counts of making false statements to a federal agent. Nathaniel Anderson and Chrisone D. Anderson made their initial appearances today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tonianne J. Bongiovanni in Trenton federal court and were released on $50,000 each unsecured bond.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger made the announcement.

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

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander E. Ramey of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton, working in conjunction with the Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Cabral Simpson, 47, Orange, New Jersey, was sentenced today to time already served, 20 months, for conspiring to commit mortgage fraud.

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

Simpson, a real estate investor, and his conspirators engaged in mortgage fraud by creating fake bank statements and fake employee verification records for buyers of properties and transferring money into the buyers’ bank accounts for payment of the deposit for a property. Simpson and his conspirators submitted fraudulent mortgage loan applications, supporting documents, and closing documents on behalf of the buyers. They also induced lenders to issue more than $1 million in loans, resulting in defaults and exposing the lenders and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to more than $1 million in losses.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Neals sentenced Simpson to two years of supervised release and ordered restitution of $1.29 million.

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

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Janine Rocheleau in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Kogan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Cybercrime Unit in Newark.

 

Noreen Khan aka Noreen Khan-Mayberry, 50, and her husband Christopher Mayberry, 51, Missouri City, Missouri have been indicted for orchestrating a fraudulent financing and refinancing mortgage loan scheme.

According to the indictment, returned December 12, 2023, both are charged with one count of conspiracy to make false statements to mortgage loan businesses.

Beginning in 2016, Mayberry and Khan, while still employed at NASA, allegedly took out significant personal loans to fund the purchase of their luxury home before quickly defaulting on those loans. 

According to the charges, the couple allegedly attempted to eliminate and dispute the debts, claiming to be victims of identity theft. Khan allegedly filed a false police report, submitted a false report to the Federal Trade Commission and sent letters to the credit bureaus in order to have the loans removed from her credit. 

As part of the scheme, the couple allegedly signed three separate loan agreements with mortgage lenders related to the financing of their home from 2017 to 2021. 

As part of the loan application process, the couple provided false employment information and fake documents which included pay stubs, tax forms and account statements to lenders, according to the charges.

The Couple surrendered to federal authorities this morning. They are expected to make their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Yvonne Ho at 2 p.m.

U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani made the announcement.

 

If convicted, they face up to five years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine in addition to the possible forfeiture of their luxury home.

NASA’s Office of Inspector General-Office of Investigations conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Winter is prosecuting the case. 

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

Russell Carbone, 69, Queens, New York, and Terrell Hill, 40, Long Island, New York, pleaded guilty to a wide-ranging scheme to steal residential properties by filing forged deeds with city officials.

Carbone and Hill, pleaded guilty to scheme to defraud in the first degree and six counts of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree. RC Couture Realty Inc., a corporation run by Carbone and his wife, Galyna Couture, 61, pleaded guilty to criminal possession of stolen property in the first degree and six counts of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree.

Carbone and Hill worked together to target homes where the owners died and their heirs had not taken title to them. To help find the properties, Hill, a landscaper, would alert Carbone, a disbarred attorney, to homes that appeared abandoned. Most turned out to have gone into foreclosure.

As part of the plea, the court voided deeds to seven homes in Queens and two in Nassau County, New York so they could be returned to their rightful owners.

In addition to forfeiting the ill-gotten deeds, Carbone will pay $56,960 in restitution. The money represents rent payments he collected after illegally taking over properties and leasing them out. The money will go to the heirs of the legitimate property owners. Carbone’s license as a notary was also revoked.

R.C. Couture Realty must pay a $100,000 fine.

Hill is also expected to face up to three years in prison when he is sentenced on January 30, 2024.

The Queens homes stolen were located on 116th Road, 115th Avenue, 148th Street and 192nd Street in Jamaica; on 131st Avenue in Laurelton Gardens; and on 104th Avenue and 192nd Street in St. Albans.

In Nassau County, the homes were on Pinebrook Avenue in West Hempstead and Advent Street in Westbury.

In some instances, the deeds were transferred more than once among the defendants and entities connected to them, resulting in 14 deeds for nine homes.

In two additional cases that were part of the charged scheme to defraud, Carbone and Hill had already agreed to relinquish deeds to the legitimate owners.

And in another case, the duo had already sold a home on 148th Street in Jamaica to a third party. The District Attorney’s office will file a motion to apply a state statute and restore that deed to its rightful owner, sparing the victim the time and expense of additional legal proceedings in civil court.

According to the charges and plea agreements:

  • Between November 8, 2019, and February 14, 2023, Hill and Carbone forged signatures on property records to transfer to themselves the ownership of multiple properties.
  • The signatures were notarized with fraudulent notary stamps that Hill ordered from Amazon in the names of actual notaries. Carbone also used his own, legitimate notary stamp on some documents.
  • The fraudulent documents were filed with the New York City Department of Finance.

In the case of the home on 116th Road in Jamaica, Hill called a Bronx woman in November 2019 about possibly selling the house, which she had inherited with her brother. Following the phone conversation, Hill introduced the victim to his “business partner,” Carbone, who met the woman at a local coffee shop to discuss the sale. The woman declined the purchase offer.

A deed transferring title to the property was filed nonetheless on March 12, 2021, indicating that RC Couture Realty, Inc. and Terrell Hill each owned a 48% interest in the property and the victim and her sibling each owned a 1% share.

Hill and Carbone forged the siblings’ signatures on the deed transfer documents, which were stamped with a fraudulent notary stamp and Carbone’s legitimate stamp.

The actual notary told investigators that the stamp was not hers. Hill’s Amazon records showed he ordered a notary stamp with this notary’s information and had it shipped to his home in West Hempstead.

In another case, a 2021 deed transfer for a home on Sutter Avenue in Jamaica included the purported signature of an heir to the property’s original owner. The document said the home was transferred to Carbone and Hill with the heir retaining 1% ownership.

The heir said he did not sign the document. The notary whose stamp is on the paperwork also said he did not sign, nor stamp, the document. Hill’s Amazon records showed another purchase shipped to his home in West Hempstead for a notary stamp with this notary’s information as well.

A nephew of the property’s original owner was living in the home and Carbone wrote to him, portraying himself as the new owner trying to “make a deal” to get him to leave. Carbone then started eviction proceedings against him.

Facing a civil lawsuit, Hill and Carbone agreed to void the deed, returning the home to the rightful owner.

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz made the announcement.

District Attorney Katz said: “When I started the Housing and Worker Protection Bureau three years ago, I promised to protect homeowners from predatory real estate scams that often target vulnerable neighborhoods. Since then, we have undone the criminal handiwork of scammers and con artists and pioneered the use of a state statute to return stolen properties to their rightful owners. With the conclusion of this prosecution, the largest we have undertaken so far, our office will have restored a total of 14 homes to their rightful owners.”

Assistant District Attorney Rachel Stein, Chief of the Real Estate Theft Unit, in the District Attorney’s Housing and Worker Protection Bureau prosecuted the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys William Jorgenson, Bureau Chief, and Christina Hanophy, Deputy Bureau Chief, and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations Gerard A. Brave.

David Izsak, 48, Chicago, Illinois, a licensed real estate professional and the sole proprietor of Premier Assets Inc. and Premier Properties Enterprises, Inc., was convicted of scheming to defraud multiple financial institutions out of $4 million.

From 2005 to 2018, Izsak engaged in a scheme to defraud financial institutions by obtaining residential loans through false statements, concealing the existence of unpaid loans, and falsely obtaining credit.  As part of the scheme, Izsak submitted or caused to be submitted to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds fictitious lien releases.  In reality, the releases were not from the lender and the loans were not paid in full.  In one instance, after causing a lien to be released, Izsak sold the property to an unsuspecting buyer.  In another instance, he obtained six mortgages on a single property, obtaining a new loan after fictitiously releasing the prior loan without repaying it.  Izsak also obtained a loan to buy a 57-foot yacht known as the “Flying Lady” by submitting fraudulent tax returns and financial information to the lender.  The yacht was seized in 2019 by federal authorities.

After a week-long trial in U.S. District Court in Chicago, the jury on Friday convicted Izsak on ten counts of financial institution fraud, each of which is punishable by up to 30 years in federal prison.  U.S. District Judge Manish S. Shah set sentencing for July 9, 2024.  The government at sentencing will seek forfeiture from Izsak of approximately $4 million.

The verdict was announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Robert W. “Wes” Wheeler, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI Chicago Field Office, and Ruth M. Mendonça, Inspector-in-Charge of the Chicago Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.    The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick J. King, Jr., and Elly M. Peirson.

 

Carol Bragdon, 50, Brewer, Maine, was sentenced today to wire fraud and making false statements to a mortgage lending business.

According to court records, between November 2020 and April 2021, Bragdon provided false statements and representations to a residential mortgage lender for the purpose of obtaining a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) backed loan. She used Google email accounts to communicate with the lender and the VA and to transmit documentation as part of the scheme. The emails were transmitted from Maine and through another state.

Bragdon was also sentenced for making a false statement to a licensed firearms dealer in a separate case.

In August 2021, Bragdon purchased five firearms at Maine Military Supply in Brewer, falsely stating that she was the actual purchaser of the firearms. She was accompanied by an individual who directed her to specific firearms and who was later arrested with one of the firearms, a Walther model PK380 .380 caliber pistol. That individual was prohibited from purchasing a firearm under federal law.

The VA Office of Inspector General and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the cases.

STRAW PURCHASING: A straw purchase is an illegal firearm purchase where the actual buyer of the gun, being unable to pass the required federal background check or desiring to not have his or her name associated with the transaction, uses a proxy buyer who can pass the required background check to purchase the firearm for him/her.

Brian Roy Lozito, 54, Orange Park, Florida, to two years and two months in federal prison for a Nationwide Mortgage Fraud Scheme

According to court documents, Lozito owned and managed American Investigative Services (AIS). AIS purported to offer consumers mortgage auditing services in exchange for a fee. Lozito and his conspirators solicited customers nationwide through mailings and telephone calls. In these solicitations, Lozito and AIS employees, under the direction of Lozito, made false and fraudulent representations to consumers, including that AIS would perform “forensic audits” of mortgage documents to uncover evidence of deficiencies in the mortgage documents. Lozito claimed AIS would obtain quitclaim deeds and other remedies so the mortgage holders would be relieved of their mortgage debt and own their properties free and clear. If AIS could not help the consumer, Lozito promised to refund their money. In reality, AIS did not perform the services paid for by consumers and did not refund money to consumers. Funds collected from consumers went to bank accounts controlled by Lozito who then used the funds to keep AIS operating and for personal expenses.      

The court ordered Lozito to pay restitution to the victims he defrauded and also entered an order of forfeiture in the amount of $164,193.84, the proceeds of the fraud. Lozito had pleaded guilty on July 28, 2023. He was arraigned on the indictment on January 11, 2021, and initially released on bond. The court revoked his bond on November 18, 2022, and subsequently ordered him detained. 

This case was investigated by United States Secret Service – Jacksonville Field Office, the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Florida Attorney General with valuable assistance from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kevin C. Frein. The asset forfeiture was handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Mai Tran and Jennifer M. Harrington.

Edmundo De La Torre, 38, Texas was sentenced for his role in a complex mortgage fraud scheme.

From 2018 to 2020, De La Torre admitted he was working as a salesman for a Laredo area homebuilder. De La Torre used his position to attempt to get potential customers approved for Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-backed mortgages. He forged various documents, including financial statements, bank statements, paycheck stubs and letters of reference for at least 38 otherwise unqualified homebuyers.

De La Torre then submitted these fake and forged documents to a Laredo area bank on behalf of the potential homebuyers. He admitted he was receiving a commission for each sale and personally profiting over $200,000 from the scheme. In addition, more than three dozen known loans in this scheme ultimately defaulted or had to be restructured, costing HUD roughly $971,310.10 at the time of his plea in April.

De La Torre pleaded guilty April 19 to orchestrating a mortgage fraud scheme in which he altered hundreds of documents to get otherwise unqualified buyers’ approval for government-backed mortgages.

U.S. District Judge Marina Marmalejo has now ordered De La Torre to serve 36 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. De La Torre was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1.17 million. In handing down the sentence, Judge Marmolejo noted the sophistication and persistence of De La Torre’s crime and remarked on the profound effects it has on potential first-time and low-income homebuyers seeking homes, and instead ending up entangled in legal and finances issues.

De La Torre was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani made the announcement.

HUD – Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation with assistance from the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Carter prosecuted the case.

Christopher Williams, 43, Brooklyn, New York was sentenced for stealing the home of an elderly widow by posing as her son, then selling the property and cashing in more than $200,000.

According to the charges:

  • In August 2021, Barbara Matthews received a notification that a new deed, mortgage and other documents had been filed without her knowledge with the New York City Department of Finance for a property she inherited after her father’s death in 2011. The home, on Dunlop Avenue in Jamaica, had been empty for several years as Matthews planned to renovate it.
  • An investigation was opened and revealed that Williams had submitted several documents to falsely represent himself as the sole owner of the property. The documents included phony birth certificates and death certificates identifying Matthews as her mother.
  • After claiming ownership of the property, Williams sold it for $270,000.
  • After closing, the defendant received a sale proceeds check for $214,535.64. Williams took the check to a Bronx check cashing establishment and received $209,665.69 in cash.

Williams pleaded guilty in August to identity theft in the first degree and offering a false instrument for filing in the second degree.

Williams was sentenced yesterday by Queens Supreme Court Justice Leigh K. Cheng to a term of two to four years in prison. Justice Cheng also granted a motion filed by the Queens District Attorney’s office, which applied a state statue to argue for immediately restoring the stolen property’s deed to its rightful owner, sparing the victim the time and expense of additional legal proceedings in civil court. District Attorney Katz’s office was the first to ever use the 2019 law earlier this year, successfully returning a St. Albans home to a disabled veteran and his family.

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz made the announcement.

District Attorney Katz said: “We will not allow criminals to scheme and scam their way into other people’s properties and we will use every tool available to ensure that victims are made whole. In communities targeted by deed fraudsters, many people do not have the means to hire an attorney to file a civil suit and litigate against deep-pocketed mortgage companies, banks and title insurers. Our use of this new tactic allows us to provide victims with one-stop justice.”

Assistant District Attorney Myongjae M. Yi, Section Chief of the District Attorney’s Major Economic Crimes Bureau, prosecuted the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Rachel Stein, Chief of the Real Estate Theft Unit in the Housing and Worker Protection Bureau, William Jorgenson, Bureau Chief, and Christina Hanophy, Deputy Bureau Chief, and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations Gerard A. Brave.

 

William Mccullough, 63, Westerly, Rhode Island, was sentenced today to 12 months and one day of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for stealing more than $700,000 from clients of his real estate law practice.

According to court documents and statements made in court today, prior to his resignation from the Connecticut bar in March 2019, McCullough operated a law practice in Stamford, Connecticut for several years.  As part of his practice, McCullough worked on real estate transactions for clients.  In that capacity, McCullough received funds from clients and knew he was required to deposit those funds in an Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account (“IOLTA Account”) and use them in accordance with his duties to each client.  In March 2018, the Connecticut Statewide Grievance Committee audited McCullough’s IOLTA Account and found that he had failed to maintain required documents for several years.  The audit revealed that more than $1.27 million was due to clients, but the IOLTA Account held less than $600,000.  A subsequent criminal investigation revealed that McCullough defrauded clients by using funds in his IOLTA Account to cover funds owed to others, and for his own use.  McCullough made false representations to clients, including providing a false and inaccurate closing statement to at least one individual, to prevent the scheme from being uncovered.

McCullough’s clients lost approximately $720,851.05 through this scheme. by U.S. District Judge Victor A. Bolden sentenced McCullough and ordered him to pay full restitution.

On November 22, 2022, McCullough pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.

McCullough, who is released on bond, is required to report to prison on January 8.

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, made the announcement.

This matter was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service and the Wallingford Police Department.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ross Weingarten.