States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|January 21, 2010||
STAMFORD ACCOUNTANT ADMITS INVOLVEMENT IN CONSPIRACY TO DEFRAUD MORTGAGE LENDERS
Nora R. Dannehy, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that JOSE I. FLORES, 50, of Fairfield Avenue, Stamford, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty yesterday, January 20, before United States District Judge Christopher F. Droney in Hartford to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud stemming from his participation in a mortgage fraud scheme.
In pleading guilty, FLORES, an accountant, admitted that from approximately 2004 to 2008, he conspired with others to defraud mortgage lenders by causing so-called “accountant letters,” which contained materially false information about the loan applicant, to be submitted to lending institutions on behalf of applicants for residential real estate mortgages.
According to court documents and statements made in court, FLORES, who did business as a tax preparer and accountant under the name Harvard Financial Services in Stamford, was approached by the owner of a real estate and mortgage broker in Stamford to create fraudulent accountant letters. Under a mortgage program offered at the time by certain mortgage lenders, mortgage applicants could apply for a so-called “stated income loan,” which did not require income verification. Through this program, lenders required a letter from the applicant’s accountant or tax preparer verifying, among other things, the applicant’s employment status, particularly for applicants claiming to be self-employed. FLORES agreed to write accountant letters containing false information for the owner of the mortgage brokerage and its loan officers knowing that the letters would be used in connection with loan applications to mortgage lenders. Over the period of several years, FLORES was paid up to $100 per letter by the mortgage brokerage to provide numerous false accountant letters.
Judge Droney has scheduled sentencing for April 9, 2010, at which time FLORES faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
This matter is being investigated by the Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Eric J. Glover. The Connecticut Attorney General’s Office provided valuable assistance to the investigation.
U.S. Attorney Dannehy stated that the investigation is ongoing.
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. In addition to investigating past mortgage fraud schemes, the Task Force will focus on emerging crime trends that are associated with the growing tide of foreclosures, including foreclosure rescue schemes, and short sale schemes. 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 email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force includes representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division; 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.
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