MORTGAGE BROKER, LOAN PROCESSORS AND STRAW BUYER PLEAD GUILTY IN MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR MORTGAGE FRAUD SCHEME
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Henry Gutierrez, Postal Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office, and J. Thomas Cardwell, Commissioner, State of Florida Office of Financial Regulation, announced that defendant John Fisher, 35, of Jupiter, Florida, pled guilty this morning in federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and to one count of substantive mail fraud. Also pleading guilty today were defendants Tracey Balli, 35, of Pembroke Pines, Florida, Justina Bryan, 35, of Hollywood, Florida, and Delano McLennon, 33, of North Lauderdale, Florida. These defendants pled guilty to one count of making false statements on a HUD-1 Real Estate Settlement Form in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme. Sentencing has been scheduled for November 19, 2010 before U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro.
According to records filed with the court and statements made during the plea hearing, the defendants and other conspirators engaged in a scheme to enrich themselves by fraudulently causing real property in Fort Lauderdale, Jupiter, Cape Coral, and Royal Palm Beach, Florida, to be bought and sold through straw buyers who obtained high value mortgages based upon fraudulent mortgage loan applications. A co-conspirator orchestrated the scheme, in which defendant John Fisher, a licensed mortgage broker, Tracey Balli and Justina Bryan, both loan processors, joined. Balli and Bryan, along with other conspirators, recruited straw buyers, including Delano McLennon, to join the scheme.
In order to obtain mortgages on these properties, the defendants and other co-conspirators submitted and caused to be submitted fraudulent documents to various mortgage lenders across the United States. Based on these false documents, the mortgage lenders issued approximately $2,500,000 in loans to the defendants and their co-conspirators.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the FBI, and the State of Florida Office of Financial Regulation. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Randy D. Katz and Jeffrey H. Kay.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.