Archives For real estate theft

Michael P. Flavin, 38, Quincy, Massachusetts, a real estate broker pleaded guilty today to 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.

The charges of wire fraud each provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. The charges of aggravated identity theft each provide for a mandatory sentence of two years in prison to be served consecutive to any other sentence imposed, up to one year of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Flavin pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft. U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs scheduled sentencing for April 12, 2022.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel Mendell and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Victor A. Wild and Sara Miron Bloom of Mendell’s Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit are prosecuting the case.

 

Vontia Jones, 39, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $2,319,278 in restitution for engaging in real estate fraud by purporting to sell properties to buyers using fraudulent documents and obtaining the personal identifying information of people and using that information to file more than 900 fraudulent tax returns with the IRS, netting her over $2,319,000 in fraudulent refunds.

The defendant pleaded guilty in August 2019 to more than 30 fraud charges, including conspiracy to make false claims to the IRS; making, and aiding and abetting the making of false claims to the IRS; wire fraud; and aggravated identity theft. Jones operated a business that she identified by various names including “Jones Tax Service,” “Earned Income Credit Unit,” “EIC Unit,” and “Eelysium,” out of her home in the 1400 block of West Cayuga Street, Philadelphia for a period of roughly seven years.

Jones also organized and operated a scheme to file phony deeds for multiple residential properties in Philadelphia, purporting to transfer ownership of the houses in order to sell them for a profit. The defendant would research homes on real estate websites, typically targeting those where the owner had died or moved away, and would charge several thousand dollars to sell someone else one of these houses that she “deeded up.”

Together with her co-conspirators, Jones solicited the personal information of individuals and their dependents under the guise of getting them “tax money,” even if they never worked. Jones designed flyers advertising her services that stated: “Don’t you deserve some income tax money too? $750 [per child] welfare social security unemployment disability even if you never had a job.” Each of the returns submitted to the IRS was submitted by the defendant or her conspirators as self-prepared, as if it had been done by the individual taxpayer whose information had been stolen.

Together, they filed or directed others to file over 900 fraudulent tax returns claiming fictious self-employment income resulting in tax refund payouts by the IRS of more $2,319,000.

United States Attorney William M. McSwain made the announcement.

In addition to the tax return scheme, “Jones’ greed impacted the lives of many hundreds of victims, and her shameful actions had severe consequences for these innocent people,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “Not only did she and her co-conspirators steal personal information in order steal tax return money from the government, but also she sold people’s houses right out from underneath them to other people who believed that they were buying property from her legitimately. For her actions, she will now spend the better part of a decade in prison.”

The degree to which Vontia Jones and her co-conspirators went in order to perpetrate this scheme is astounding,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Thomas Fattorusso. “Not only did Vontia Jones steal the identities of unwitting individuals, she also stole millions of dollars from the US government; and ultimately US taxpayers. Today, she stands a convicted felon who will spend years in federal prison.”

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anthony J. Wzorek.

New York DA Vance Releases Grand Jury Report Documenting Epidemic of Real Estate Theft Targeting Vulnerable New Yorkers D.A. Asks Lawmakers to Adopt Series of Reforms to Curb “Title Identity Theft,” or “Deed Fraud”.  Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced that a New York State Supreme Court Grand Jury has issued a report outlining a series of recommendations to curb a growing “epidemic” of residential real estate fraud, whose victims, according to the Grand Jury, “

Source: DA Vance Releases Grand Jury Report Documenting Epidemic of Real Estate Theft Targeting Vulnerable New Yorkers – Manhattan District Attorney’s Office