NINTH DEFENDANT SENTENCED TO FIVE YEARS IN PRISON FOR HIS ROLE IN LARGE-SCALE MORTGAGE FRAUD RING
BOSTON, Mass. - A Sharon man convicted of conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering was sentenced today for the role he played in a mortgage fraud ring that involved 21 fraudulent property transactions in the Greater Boston area, which defrauded 10 mortgage lenders of more than $ 10.6 million in loan proceeds.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Robert Bethel, Postal Inspector in Charge of the United States Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division; William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Boston Field Division; Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino; and Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis, announced that ANDRE JUNIOR LAMERIQUE, 28, formerly of Sharon, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge George A. O’Toole, Jr. to a term of 60 months imprisonment, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.
A total of 11 defendants were indicted in May of 2008. Five defendants were convicted of Conspiracy and Wire Fraud counts by a federal jury following a seven-week trial in June 2010. LAMERIQUE and four other defendants pleaded guilty before the trial, and one defendant is awaiting trial on February 2011. On March 11, 2011, LAMERIQUE pleaded guilty to a charge of Conspiracy and 33 counts of Wire Fraud.
The Government’s evidence showed that between May 2005 and June 2006, the defendants participated in a conspiracy to obtain $10.6 million in mortgage loan proceeds by fraud. The scheme involved the use “straw” buyers, inflated purchase prices and documents containing numerous false representations, including false information about the purchase price, borrower income, employment, and intent to reside in the property. The difference between actual purchase prices negotiated with sellers and the inflated purchase prices submitted to lenders ranged as high as $255,000 on properties in South Boston, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Quincy, Hyde Park and Cohasset. These fraudulent "mark-ups" added up to over $1.9 million. From this $1.9 million, the defendants 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. LAMERIQUE participated in the scheme by recruiting straw buyers for the fraudulent loans, creating and sending bogus loan applications to mortgage lenders, and sharing in the illegal proceeds.
LAMERIQUE is the ninth defendant sentenced to date. On October 18, 2010, Judge O’Toole sentenced DANIEL APPOLON to 42 month in prison and ordered co-defendant SAMUEL JEAN-LOUIS to serve a prison term of 22 months. On October 20, 2010, ERNST APPOLON was sentenced to prison for 120 months and on October 21st JERMAINE BLAKE was ordered to serve a prison term of 30 months. On October 28, 2010, the court sentenced WIDNER LAMARRE to prison for 60 months. LATOYA HALTIWANGER was also sentenced on October 28, 2010 and received a prison sentence of 30 months. On November 1, 2010, JEAN NORISCAT was sentenced to a prison term of 87 months. On November 10, 2011, attorney J. DANIEL LINDLEY was sentenced to serve 72 months in prison. ERIC LEVINE, a suspended attorney, is scheduled for sentencing on January 20, 2011. Defendant RALPH APPOLON is scheduled for trial on February 7, 2011.
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 B. Murrane, Chief 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.