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P R E S S   R E L E A S E

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

July 19, 2011


East Haven Man Admits Obtaining $4.7 Million in Fraudulent Mortgages on 21 Homes in New Haven County

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that ABDELGHANY ANTAR, 56, of East Haven, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Christopher F. Droney in Hartford to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud stemming from his participation in a mortgage fraud scheme in New Haven County.

According to court documents and statements made in court, ANTAR owned and operated ATZ Realty, located at 612 Main Street in East Haven. From June 2006 to October 2007, ANTAR conspired with a former employee, Andrea J. Palmucci, to purchase 11 properties in New Haven County in Palmucci's name. As part of the conspiracy, ANTAR and Palmucci made false statements to various mortgage lenders, including statements about Palmucci's income, assets, liabilities, employment, and intention to occupy the home as a primary residence. In addition, the deposits and down payments for the properties were paid out of bank accounts in Palmucci's name with funds owned and controlled by ANTAR. After the closings, Palmucci quitclaimed the properties back to ANTAR or to entities that ANTAR owned or controlled. Through this scheme, ANTAR obtained more than $2.7 million in fraudulent mortgages.

In pleading guilty, ANTAR also admitted that he committed mortgage fraud with respect to another 10 properties in the greater New Haven area from March 2005 to November 2006. By making, or causing to be made, materially false statements to various mortgage lenders, ANTAR obtained 11 fraudulent mortgages totaling more than $2 million to purchase the 10 properties in another individual's name, but for ANTAR's own benefit.

In total, ANTAR obtained, or helped to obtain, 22 fraudulent mortgages totaling approximately $4.778 million to purchase 21 properties in New Haven County. All 21 properties have been foreclosed upon or are in default, causing losses of more than $1 million to the lenders.

Judge Droney has scheduled ANTAR's sentencing for October 7, 2011, at which time he faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.

On May 24, 2011, Palmucci waived her right to indictment and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She is scheduled to be sentenced on November 14, 2011.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David T. Huang.

In July 2009, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced the formation of the Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force to investigate and prosecute mortgage fraud cases and related financial crimes occurring in Connecticut. Citizens are encouraged to report any suspected mortgage fraud activity by calling 203-333-3512 and requesting the Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force, or by sending an e-mail to ctmortgagefraud@ic.fbi.gov.

The Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force includes representatives from the U.S. Attorney's Office; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General; Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General, and State of Connecticut Department of Banking.

This case was brought in coordination with the President's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which was established to wage an aggressive and coordinated effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force 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, to 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.

To report financial fraud crimes, and to learn more about the President's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, please visit www.stopfraud.gov.


Source: United States Attorney's Office for the District of Connecticut


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