|The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced that eleven people were charged in a 43-count Indictment alleging, among other crimes, mortgage fraud. The case involves The Mortgage Pros, Inc., a mortgage banking firm in Guttenberg, New Jersey, which is owned and operated by a well-known New Jersey businessman and his wife.An Indictment is a formal charge made by a grand jury, which is a body of 16 to 23 citizens. The charges contained in the Indictment are only accusations, and every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty.
Rene Abreu, 40, and his wife Lourdes Adan-Abreu, 39 — owners of The Mortgage Pros — also owned Abreu Real Estate and RLA Homes, companies used to facilitate the alleged bank and mail frauds, according to the announcement. Mortgage loan originators and processors employed by The Mortgage Pros were also named in the indictment. Several of the defendants have either been arrested or turned themselves in, including Abreu.
The scheme began in 1992, the DOJ said. The defendants allegedly disregarded financial documents provided by borrowers and instead submitted false documentation to several financial institutions in an effort to secure approval on residential and commercial loans. Fake HUD-1 statements were allegedly prepared to hide the exchange of funds between the buyer and seller, enabling the appearance of a cash down payment by the buyer.
The Indictment said that false financial statements were submitted to the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance in order to retain the mortgage banking license. The Department’s regulations required that Mortgage Pros maintain a net worth of $250,000 to retain its mortgage banking license.
One defendant, Luis Nieves, was employed by Hudson United Bank, according to the indictment. As a senior loan officer at the bank, he allegedly helped Abreu in a check kiting scheme that enabled Abreu to avoid obtaining loans through official means. Nieves is accused of accepting $3,000 for his part. During a five year span, the negative balance in Abreu’s account repeatedly exceeded $1 million.
Count seventeen of the indictment accuses Abreu and another defendant, Manuel Mier, a/k/a “Manny Mier”, of collecting bribe and protection money from the owner-operators of an illegal gambling operation and a corrupt local chief of police. The defendants allegedly represented to the police chief that they were “acting on behalf of a high-level West New York public official.”
To launder the funds, the DOJ said more than $2 million was deposited into accounts at Hudson United in amounts less than $10,000 per transaction. Transactions above $10,000 require domestic financial institutions to file reports with the Internal Revenue Service. More than $5,000 in cash payments were allegedly made to a bank teller for assistance in structuring some of the deposits.
Following is a complete list of defendants.
|Other articles about mortgage fraud cases include:
Sam Garcia has been in mortgage lending since 1980, and is the Publisher of MortgageDaily.com. He also owns and operates CloseNow.com, a consumer real estate portal site.email: SamGarcia@MortgageDaily.com
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