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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 7, 2013

Buffalo Man Charged with Mortgage Fraud

 

        BUFFALO, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Michael Rory Woods, 44, of Buffalo, N.Y., was charged by criminal complaint with making false statements on a loan application in order to secure a refinance mortgage. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, a fine of $ 1,000,000, or both.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen A. Lynch, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, the defendant falsely inflated the income of a borrower on a loan application submitted to JP Morgan Chase Bank. The borrower, James P. Vasiliou, Jr., previously pleaded guilty to bank fraud in connection with making a false statement on a bank mortgage application.

The complaint alleges that Woods, through his mortgage brokerage firm, Buffalo Equity, submitted an application for a refinance mortgage inflating Vasiliou’s income by thousands of dollars. A week later, Woods submitted another application on behalf of Vasiliou for a refinance mortgage on the same property that grossly inflated Vasiliou’s income three times as much as the income listed on the first application. The second loan was approved based on the exaggerated income of Vasiliou. As a result of the scheme, JP Morgan Chase Bank suffered a loss.

The criminal complaint is the result of an investigation by the Mortgage Fraud Task Force of WNY, led by the U.S. Attorney’s office, which includes agents and personnel from the United States Secret Service under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Tracy Gast and the Federal Bureau of Investigation under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian P. Boetig.    

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.