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Sept. 25, 2013

Tarpon Springs Man Sentenced to 15 Months in Prison for Mortgage Fraud

TAMPA, FLU.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore yesterday sentenced Chad Allen Lazzari (45, Tarpon Springs) to 15 months in federal prison for wire fraud and making false statements to federally-insured banks. As part of Lazzari's sentence, the court also entered a money judgment in the amount of $670,982.65, the proceeds of the mortgage fraud offenses. In addition, he was also ordered to forfeit his interest in a specified cashier's check and a personal injury claim. Lazzari pleaded guilty on June 5, 2013.

According to court documents, in 2007 and 2008, Lazzari submitted and caused the submission of mortgage and home equity loan applications containing false and fraudulent statements to Regions Bank, SunTrust Bank, and Fifth Third Bank in the Middle District of Florida. In the loan applications, Lazzari fraudulently represented that he was a single man, when in fact he was married, and in some instances, submitted false income tax returns and other fraudulent documents in an effort to substantiate this claim and otherwise enhance the financial qualifications of the borrower on the loan applications. For example, on or about June 6, 2006, Lazzari purchased the residence located at 201 Fairmont Drive, Spring Hill, Florida 34610, as an investment property. In connection with purchase, he represented himself as a single man.

Slightly more than one year later, in or about August to September 2007, Lazzari prepared a fraudulent mortgage loan application in the name of his spouse, Lin Lin Liu, and submitted it to Homecomings Financial LLC in connection with his sale of the Fairmont Drive home to his spouse. The purpose of the sale was to avoid foreclosure of the investment property in his name. Among other things, the mortgage loan application in Lazzari's spouse's name contained several material false statements. It did not disclose the fact that the seller and buyer were married; falsely reported that Lazzari's spouse was gainfully employed and making a sizable income, which was not true; included false statements about Lazzari's spouse's assets; and misrepresented the truth about his spouse's address. Homecomings Financial LLC approved the fraudulent mortgage loan application in Lazzari's spouse's then-name, Lin Lin Liu (changed shortly thereafter to Victoria Liu Lazzari). On September 7, 2007, Homecomings Financial LLC wired $324,482.65 in mortgage loan proceeds. Lazzari's spouse never made a single mortgage payment, and the property was foreclosed upon.

On or about March 17, 2008, Lazzari submitted three different home equity loan applications (totaling $76,500), in varying amounts to three separate banks on a different residence. In each instance, Lazzari represented himself as single or unmarried with the intent to influence the actions of the banks on his loan applications. Lazzari failed to report to any one of the banks that he had made home equity loan applications to the other two banks, or that the Fairmont Drive home, which he had fraudulently sold to his spouse, was in foreclosure. Ultimately, Lazzari defaulted on all of these loans.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rachelle DesVaux Bedke.

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

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