FORMER MORTGAGE BROKER CHARGED IN "FORECLOSURE RESCUE SCHEME"
BOSTON, Mass. -A Rhode Island man was charged today in federal court with defrauding mortgage lenders in connection with the purchase of several homes in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
CHRISTOPHER REIFF, 31, of Warwick, RI, was charged with eight counts of Wire Fraud. The Information alleges that between 2006 and 2007, REIFF was a mortgage broker and the manager of the East Greenwich, RI branch of Mortgage Options of America, Inc. ("MOA"). During this time, REIFF allegedly solicited business from delinquent borrowers who had poor credit and were unable to refinance with conventional financing. It is alleged that REIFF offered these homeowners the opportunity to sell their homes to an "investor," or straw buyer, for a one or two-year period during which time the homeowner could repair his credit. According to the Information, during this period, the homeowner would remain in the home and pay "rent" to the straw buyer. It alleged that REIFF and his MOA colleagues stripped the equity from these properties and the homes were ultimately foreclosed upon. Such schemes are known as "foreclosure rescue" schemes.
According to the Information, REIFF schemed with others to defraud mortgage lenders in connection with the purchases of properties located at 107 Willow Street, Woonsocket, RI; 88 Valerie Court Cranston, RI; 9 Rosewood Terrace, Dartmouth, MA; 8 Parkside Avenue, Greenfield, MA; and 198 Sylvan Court, North Kingstown, RI. For each property, REIFF and his confederates allegedly submitted false mortgage loan applications which, among other things, falsely represented that the property would be the borrower's primary residence.
If convicted REIFF faces up to 20 years imprisonment to be followed by up to three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine on each count.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Robert Bethel, Inspector in Charge of the United States Postal; Jon Rymer, Inspector General of the FDIC ; Steven D. Ricciardi, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James P. Dowden and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea D. Roller of Ortiz's Economic Crimes Unit.
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.