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Oct. 11, 2012

Garnet Valley Man Charged In Bank Fraud Conspiracy

Simon H. Aouad, 34, of Garnet Valley, PA, was charged today by Indictment with conspiracy, mail fraud, and bank fraud, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. The charges arise from his alleged participation in two schemes: (1) a mortgage fraud scheme involving fraudulently obtained mortgages to purchase properties in North Wildwood, New Jersey, where the properties were purchased for inflated sale prices so that the buyers could obtain kickbacks totaling tens of thousands of dollars, which were not disclosed to the lenders, and (2) a scheme to obtain by fraud lines of credit at Wachovia Bank.

Aouad's alleged co-conspirators in the mortgage fraud scheme included John C. Lucidi, Jr., Timothy Cook, Eric Maratea, and Eric Itzi, all of whom were charged elsewhere and have pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the mortgage fraud scheme. Aouad is alleged to have brought willing buyers, such as Cook, Maratea, and Itzi, to Lucidi to participate in the scheme, in exchange for fees and kickbacks for each successful buyer. The mortgages Aouad facilitated went into default and causes losses to the lenders of approximately $3.2 million.

Aouad's alleged co-conspirators in the bank fraud scheme included a loan broker by the name of Gerald Cathie, who is charged elsewhere, as well as a corrupt Wachovia Bank loan officer. Similar to his role in the mortgage fraud scheme, Aouad is alleged to have facilitated the fraudulently obtained Wachovia Bank lines of credit by bringing borrowers to Cathie and the loan officer to apply for the lines of credit using false income and other information. When the loans were funded, the borrowers paid Cathie a fee of 5-7% of the amount of loan proceeds, Cathie kicked money back to the loan officer, and the loan officer paid Aouad several thousand dollars from the loan proceeds for his role in identifying the borrower. The Wachovia Bank loans that Aouad facilitated went into default and caused losses to Wachovia Bank of approximately half a million dollars.

If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of five years of imprisonment on each of the two conspiracy counts, and thirty years of imprisonment on each of the six wire fraud counts and the bank fraud count.

These cases were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, and the United States Secret Service. They are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Nancy E. Potts and Denise S. Wolf.

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

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