RECRUITER IN LARGE-SCALE MORTGAGE FRAUD RING SENTENCED TO 42 MONTHS IN PRISON
BOSTON, Mass. - A recruiter convicted of conspiracy and wire fraud by a federal jury in June 2010 was sentenced yesterday for his role in a mortgage fraud ring that conducted 21 fraudulent property transactions in the Greater Boston area involving 10 mortgage lenders and more than $10.6 million in loan proceeds.
DANIEL APPOLON, 23, of Dorchester was sentenced by U.S. District Judge George A. O’Toole, Jr. to 42 months imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release. He was also found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and six counts of wire fraud following the seven-week trial in June. Also convicted of conspiring to commit wire fraud and wire fraud following the same trial were ERIC L. LEVINE of Brookline; J. DANIEL LINDLEY of Jamaica Plain; ERNST APPOLON of Braintree; DANIEL APPOLON of Dorchester, and LATOYA HALTIWANGER of California. LEVINE and LINDLEY were also convicted of money laundering.
Between May 2005 and June 2006, the defendants and others participated in a conspiracy to obtain $10.6 million in mortgage loan proceeds by fraud. Specifically, the scheme involved the use of inflated purchase prices and documents containing false statements about purchase price, borrower income, employment, or intent to reside in the property. The difference between purchase prices negotiated with sellers and inflated purchase prices submitted to lenders ranged from as little as $15,000 to as much as $255,000 on individual properties in South Boston, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Quincy, Hyde Park and Cohasset, aggregating to more than $1.9 million. From this $1.9 million, the defendants and other co-conspirators pocketed more than $1.7 million in illegal proceeds. The mortgages on all of the properties were defaulted upon and nearly all went into foreclosure.
Daniel Appolon served primarily as a “recruiter” for the group, identifying individuals to serve as straw purchasers of properties. He shared in the excess loan proceeds in connection with transactions in which the names and credit information of two “straw” borrowers’ he recruited were used to purchase properties.
Defendants LEVINE, LINDLEY, ERNST APPOLON, and HALTIWANGER face up to 20 years imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 on each count of wire fraud. For the conspiracy, they face up to five years imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. On the money laundering counts, LEVINE and LINDLEY face up to 10 years imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
Co-defendants ANDRE JUNIOR LAMERIQUE, WIDNER LAMARRE, JERMAINE BLAKE, SAMUEL JEAN-LOUIS and JEAN NORISCAT pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and several counts of wire fraud. JEAN-LOUIS was sentenced to 22 months in prison by Judge O’Toole on October 18, 2010. LAMERIQUE, LAMARRE, BLAKE, and NORISCAT each face a maximum of 20 years imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $1 million fine on each count of wire fraud. For the conspiracy, they face up to five years imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release. NORISCAT also pled guilty to several counts of aggravated identity theft and faces a mandatory two years imprisonment for each of the identity theft counts in addition to any other sentence imposed.
The defendants have been scheduled for sentencing as follows: ERNST APPOLON and HALTIWANGER, October 20; BLAKE, October 21; LINDLEY, October 27; LAMARRE, October 28; NORISCAT, November 1; LAMERIQUE, November 9; and LEVINE, to be determined.
Co-defendant RALPH APPOLON is scheduled for trial in February 2011.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Robert Bethel, Inspector in Charge of the United States Postal Inspection Service; William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation, Boston Field Division; Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino; and Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Victor A. Wild and Ryan M. DiSantis of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit and Mary Murrane of Ortiz’s Asset Forfeiture Unit.
Mortgage fraud is a key focus of the Department of Justice who in November 2009 created the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force works to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.