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June 21, 2012

Conspirator Pleads Guilty To Mortgage Fraud Scheme

PHILADELPHIA - Eric Itzi, 30, of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty today to his role in a scheme to fraudulently obtain mortgages for properties in North Wildwood, New Jersey. Timothy Cook, 28, Eric Maratea, 27, Richard VonMinden, 33, Michael Smith, 32, and James Esposito, 41, have also been charged, in separate informations, of conspiring with John C. Lucidi, Jr., charged elsewhere, to commit wire fraud in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme. A sentencing hearing for Itzi is scheduled for September 19, 2012.

Itzi, who was charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, and money laundering, admitted that with his 2007 purchase of two North Wildwood, New Jersey properties, he and Lucidi caused false information to be submitted in support of his loan applications. Among the erroneous information were falsely inflated sales prices that served the purpose of allowing Itzi to receive money back totaling tens of thousands of dollars, that was not disclosed to the lenders, after settlement.

Itzi faces a maximum possible sentence of 45 years in prison, a five year period of supervised release, a fine of up to $1.5 million plus up to twice the amount of the criminally derived property involved in the money laundering transactions, a $300 special assessment, and full restitution.

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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