Sunday, October 24, 2010

Florida-licensed mortgage lender sentenced to 10 years in prison

Peter James Porcelli, II, 57, Pinellas County, Florida, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew to 10 years in federal prison for mail fraud. As part of Porcelli's sentence, the Court entered a money judgment for $1.8 million, an amount equal to proceeds from the fraud. Porcelli had pleaded guilty on April 15, 2010.

According to court documents, Porcelli was a Florida-licensed mortgage lender with his company, Silverstone Lending. Through court lists, Porcelli found people whose homes were falling into foreclosure. Posing as "Peter James," a "Relief Coordinator" for the "nonprofit" Safe Harbour Foundation, Porcelli mailed the homeowners flyers about Safe Harbour. The flyers made it appear that Safe Harbour was there to save the homeowners in their hour of need. When homeowners responded to the flyers, however, "Peter James" referred them to Peter Porcelli at Silverstone Lending, who lent them high-fee, highinterest, short-term balloon payment loans. The fees for Porcelli's loans averaged approximately 60% of the total amount of each loan, and the interest on the loans was as high as 260.18% APR. The loans generally came due in six months.

Many victims lost their homes when they could not repay Porcelli's loans, including one victim who became homeless as a result of the offense.

Florida man receives almost 16 years behind bars for mortgage fraud

Peter Bakowski, 59, Tampa, Florida, the mastermind behind a $20 million mortgage fraud related Ponzi scheme, was sentenced to 188 months (15 years, 8 months) in federal prison and ordered to pay $16.1 million in restitution.

According to court documents, Bakowski was a licensed mortgage broker at the time he perpetrated his scheme, misusing his credentials to sell the same mortgage to multiple victims. In order to keep the Ponzi scheme going Bakowski would pay returns to the preceding investors with money from new investors. More than 30 victims were affected, including investors and institutions, and more than 150 properties involved. Many of the investors were elderly.

68 years jail time for real estate fraud

Kathy Chen, 49, Westminster, California, a real estate broker, was sentenced to 68 years and six months in state prison for conspiring with her boyfriend and his brother to commit $17.5 million in real estate fraud by purchasing 35 properties using stolen identities and intentionally defaulting on loans in order to steal the loan money.

Chen was found guilty by a jury May 18, 2010, of 136 felony counts including one count of conspiracy, 47 counts of grand theft, one count of attempted grand theft, 37 counts of forgery, 27 counts of recording false documents, 15 counts of identity theft, one count of elder financial exploitation, four counts of forging an official seal, and three counts of filing false state income tax returns. The sentencing enhancements for causing loss in excess of $2.5 million and $100,000 were found true. Chen will face a restitution hearing on Nov. 8, 2010, at 9:00 a.m. in Department W-9, West Justice Center, Westminster.

Jeffrey St. Martin's trial to start tomorow

Jeffrey St. Martin, 38, Chicago, Illinois, is scheduled to begin trial on Monday, October 25, 2010, in Judge Nancy McDonnell 's courtroom in Cuyahoga County, Illinois.

St. Martin was the main defendant in a criminal enterprise that purchased 21 houses, mostly in Cleveland, Illinois, with fraudulent loans totaling 3.1 million dollars. The criminal enterprise entailed the same schemes to deceive lenders: loan application fraud, down-payment scheme, and kickbacks to defendants upon closing the sale of the house. St. Martin orchestrated this fraud by associating himself with various companies that submitted fraudulent loans. He and his codefendant companion, Ayanna Israel, 33, Chicago, Illinois, acted as loan officers and obtained fraudulent loans from lenders. They received kickbacks at the closing of the houses.

Cuyahoga County Mortgage Fraud Task Force, operating under authorization of Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray and Ohio's Organized Crime Investigations Commission, conducted the investigation. A sheriff deputy from Sheriff Reid's office heads the Task Force. HUD was a lead investigative agency on this case.