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March 21, 2014

Littleton Man Found Guilty of Implementing Mortgage Fraud Scheme

DENVER—Peter V. Capra, age 56, of Littleton, Colorado, was found guilty by a jury today of wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering, federal law enforcement authorities announced. The guilty verdict was the result of a eight-day trial before U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson. The jury deliberated for nearly two days before reaching their verdicts. At the conclusion of the trial Capra was taken into custody pending a bond hearing, scheduled for April 2, 2014 at 1:00 p.m.

Capra was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on April 15, 2012, followed by a superseding indictment on May 23, 2012. As part of the mortgage fraud scheme, Demetrious G. Gianopoulos and Brian Waring were charged in two separate indictments, and Justin Knight was charged by an information. Gianopoulos pled guilty to one count of money laundering and was sentenced to five years' probation. Knight pled guilty to destruction of records in a federal investigation and was sentenced to 12 months of home confinement. Waring pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 30, 2014.

According to the indictment, superseding indictment, and evidence presented at trial, Capra was the president of Golden Design Group, Inc. (GDG), a company which built and sold houses in the Denver metropolitan area. Capra was also the registered agent for Distinctive Mortgages, LLC, which used space within GDG's office building and provided mortgages to some of the customers buying houses from GDG.

From January 2005 through July 2008, Capra, along with others, executed a scheme to defraud several mortgage lenders. The scheme was executed in connection with applications for residential mortgage loans and related documents associated with real estate purchases, including, but not limited to, 33 properties in Parker, Colorado. Capra structured transactions involving GDG homes to allow buyers to receive substantial amounts of the lenders' money at the time of closing without the knowledge of the lenders. He also sold a large volume of homes to otherwise unwilling or unqualified buyers. The evidence at trial showed that Capra netted more than $11,000,000 as a result of his scheme.

Loan applications for the buyers were submitted through several different mortgage brokers that assisted with providing, or at least failing to question the accuracy of, false information submitted in connection with the applications, including materially false and fraudulent representations about the buyers' income, liabilities, source of down payment, and intent to occupy the properties as their primary residences. At closing, funds ranging from $85,000 to over $200,000 were distributed to the buyers in ways that prevented the lenders from discovering that these funds were actually going to the buyers; these funds were not disclosed in the HUD-1 closing statements or were disguised in those statements.

Capra was charged with and found guilty of 14 counts of wire fraud, two counts of mail fraud, and 10 counts of money laundering. He was found not guilty of one count of obstruction of justice. Each count of wire and mail fraud carries a penalty of not more than 20 years in federal prison, and a fine of the greater of up to $250,000 or twice the gain or loss from the offense. Each count of money laundering carries a penalty of not more than 10 years in federal prison, and a fine of the greater of up to $250,000 or the value of the property involved in the transaction. At sentencing, the Judge will also consider entering an order of asset forfeiture, including all property constituting or derived from proceeds traceable to the commission of the offense, or a money judgment equal to the total proceeds taken.

This case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Postal Inspection Service. The case was prosecuted by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Troyer and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mathew Kirsch.

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

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