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Nov. 7, 2013

Last Man Sentenced To 6 Years In Federal Prison For Role In Sarasota Mortgage Fraud Conspiracy

Tampa, Florida U.S. District Judge Richard A. Lazzara sentenced J. Patrick Brester (41, Sarasota) yesterday to six years in federal prison for conspiring to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution, and committing wire fraud affecting a financial institution. The court also ordered Brester to forfeit $1,995,800, which is traceable to proceeds of the offense. Brester was found guilty on June 4, 2013.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Brester conspired with Michael Chadwick, Matthew Landsman, Joshua Unger, and others to engage in fraudulent cash-back-to-buyer mortgage transactions involving the 2007 purchase and sale of condominiums at Vintage Grand, a large condominium complex in Sarasota, Florida. Each fraudulent transaction involved Brester first purchasing the unit from the development company, Sarasota 432, LLC, and then simultaneously flipping it to Michael Chadwick. Brester and his co-conspirators deceived mortgage lenders about the true nature of the transactions by inflating the purchase prices of the properties, and ultimately the amount lent by the mortgage lenders, to include fees that were falsely described as "management fees" payable to shell corporations under their control.

In truth, the so-called "management fees" were actually the method by which Brester and his co-conspirators funneled cash back to themselves without the lenders' knowledge. In furtherance of the conspiracy, Brester and his co-conspirators caused interstate wire transfers of the proceeds of the loans obtained from the victim mortgage lenders into bank accounts held in the name of shell companies, including IGS, Inc. and Landwick I, LLC. Evidence presented at trial showed that Brester made over $550,000 from his role in the conspiracy. Mortgage lenders incurred a loss of over $1.2 million from the conspiracy.

For his role in the scheme, Chadwick was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, on October 19, 2010. Landsman was sentenced to 2 years' imprisonment on August 19, 2011. Unger was ordered to serve a 15 month prison term on June 27, 2013. All four were ordered to pay restitution to the financial institutions in the amount of $1,266,156.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Amanda L. Riedel and Matthew J. Mueller.

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

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