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January 11, 2011

BOSTON, Mass. - A former West Boylston resident was charged today in federal court with conspiring with a mortgage broker and various property buyers to defraud numerous mortgage lenders who financed the purchase of homes in the Worcester area.

ROWLAND KOJO ADJEI SAPONG, 40, a citizen of Ghana who formerly lived in West Boylston, was charged in an Information with conspiring to commit wire fraud.

The Information alleges that, between March 2002 and March 2008, SAPONG bought approximately 17 multi-family homes in the Worcester area, and secured financing for most of them by making false statements on loan applications. These false statements usually concerned SAPONG’s employment and monthly income, and each application also falsely stated that SAPONG was a United States citizen. The Information further alleges that SAPONG divided each of the properties into condominium units -- over 50 in all -- and sold the units, usually to friends and acquaintances, at inflated prices. Working with a local mortgage brokerage business, SAPONG allegedly arranged for these buyers to make false statements on their own loan applications to secure the financing necessary to buy SAPONG’s condominium units. The Information alleges that SAPONG made an average of about 100% profit on each of the homes in a matter of months, and that, after the units had been sold off to buyers, all eventually went into foreclosure. According to the Information, the government estimates that SAPONG caused losses to mortgage lenders of over $1 million.

If convicted on these charges, SAPONG faces up to 20 years imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Secret Service, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling of Ortiz's Economic Crimes Unit.

U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Division; Steven Ricciardi, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service; and Robert Bethel, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service made the announcement today.
The details contained in the Information are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


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