States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|January 6, 2011|
RHODE ISLAND MAN ADMITS INVOLVEMENT IN MORTGAGE FRAUD SCHEME
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that NATHAN RUSSO, 34, of Johnston, Rhode Island, pleaded guilty today before Chief United States District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud stemming from his participation in a mortgage fraud conspiracy.
According to court documents and statements made in court, RUSSO and others engaged in a scheme to obtain millions of dollars in residential real estate loans, including loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration, through the use of sham sales contracts, false loan applications and fraudulent property appraisals.
RUSSO was a mortgage broker employed by Action Mortgage Corp., a licensed mortgage broker in Cranston, Rhode Island. In pleading guilty, RUSSO admitted that he acted as a mortgage broker for five residential property sales that closed in between April and September 2007. All but one of these properties were in Connecticut. RUSSO prepared loan packages for these transactions, including loan applications for the buyer, which he knew to include false information about the buyer’s employment, assets and liabilities and the buyer’s intention to occupy the property as his principal residence. The loan applications also were supported by false documentation, including earning statements and fraudulent bank records.
Judge Thompson has scheduled sentencing for April 4, 2011, at which time RUSSO faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.
The investigation is ongoing.
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, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Eric J. Glover and Susan Wines.
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; 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.
To report financial fraud crimes, and to learn more about the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, please visit www.stopfraud.gov.
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