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P R E S S   R E L E A S E

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

May 1, 2012


Branford Woman Sentenced to 41 Months in Prison for Role in New London County Mortgage Fraud Scheme

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that Stacey Petro, also known as Stacey Moises, 37, of Branford, was sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge Alfred V. Covello in Hartford to 41 months of imprisonment followed by two years of supervised release for her role in a southeastern Connecticut mortgage fraud scheme.

According to court documents and statements made in court, from approximately 2004 to 2007, Petro and others used mortgage brokerage companies as well as property management and home improvement companies to arrange for individuals ("borrowers") to purchase real estate, primarily residential housing properties located in New London Country, by obtaining funding from various mortgage companies and mortgage originators after submitting false information on the borrowers' mortgage loan applications. The fraudulent information included information regarding income, assets, employment, rent history, as well as the borrowers' intention to make the properties their primary residence. The borrowers, who typically were individuals who had good credit but were of modest means with low levels of income, were compensated for participating in the scheme.

Petro, a licensed mortgage broker, controlled and operated First Source Mortgage Solutions, Inc. Working with co-defendants Jose Guzman, Brian Guimond, David Kinney, Louise Lampo-Diglio and others, Petro submitted materially false loan applications and closing documents to the victim lenders to obtain more than 40 residential mortgages. On numerous occasions, Petro alerted Guimond that mortgage lenders would be calling him to verify the borrowers' employment information and income, and also provided instructions to Guimond how to handle the call. As part of the scheme, Guimond had signed employment verification forms falsely representing that borrowers were employed at his company, The Cutting Edge.

Petro received thousands in dollars in brokerage fees for each fraudulent mortgage transaction in which she was involved, and she earned a total of approximately $156,000 for participating in the scheme. However, each of the more than 40 properties in which she was involved has been foreclosed on, resulting in more than $7 million in losses to lenders.

Judge Covello ordered Petro to pay restitution in the amount of $6,348,403.15.

On October 18, 2011, Petro pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud.

According to previously filed court documents, the government believes that more than 200 fraudulent mortgages were funded through this mortgage fraud scheme, causing more approximately $9 million in losses to lenders.

Sixteen individuals have pleaded guilty to various charges stemming from this scheme. Guzman, Guimond, Kinney, and Lampo-Diglio await sentencing.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael S. McGarry and David T. Huang.

In July 2009, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced the formation of the Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force to investigate and prosecute mortgage fraud cases and related financial crimes occurring in Connecticut. Citizens are encouraged to report any suspected mortgage fraud activity by calling 203-333-3512 and requesting the Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force, or by sending an e-mail to ctmortgagefraud@ic.fbi.gov.

The Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force includes representatives from the U.S. Attorney's Office; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General; Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General, and State of Connecticut Department of Banking.

This case was brought in coordination with the President's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which was established to wage an aggressive and coordinated effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.

To report financial fraud crimes, and to learn more about the President's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, please visit www.stopfraud.gov.


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


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