CANTON MAN CONVICTED OF ORCHESTRATING PROPERTY MORTGAGE & DOWN PAYMENT FRAUD
BOSTON, Mass...A Canton man was convicted late yesterday in federal court for orchestrating a large-scale property mortgage scam and separately stealing down payments from potential buyers in Massachusetts.
PRINCE CHARLES EWEKA, 45, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Patti B. Saris to ten counts of wire fraud. At today’s plea hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that had the case proceeded to trial the Government’s evidence would have proven that in 2006 and 2007, EWEKA committed fraud in connection with eight condominium sales in two buildings in Dorchester. EWEKA paid straw buyers to “purchase” individual units in buildings that EWEKA controlled. EWEKA promised straw buyers that they would not have to make down payments, pay funds at the closing, or be responsible for mortgage payments. The straw buyers’ financing for the purchases was obtained by submitting mortgage loan applications and other documents that falsely represented key information, such as the buyers’ income, assets, and/or intention to reside in the condominiums. The deals were closed with HUD-1 settlement statements that falsely represented that straw buyers had made substantial down payments in connection with the property transactions.
In addition, EWEKA stole $120,000 in down payments made by three individuals in 2010. In early 2010, EWEKA was the listing real estate agent for a property located in Lexington. EWEKA identified potential buyers for the Lexington property around the time of a failed attempt to sell the property to an entity EWEKA controlled. EWEKA had the potential buyers sign purchase and sale agreements for a sale of the Lexington property and collected down payments from them that EWEKA agreed to hold in escrow pending completion of the transaction. Shortly after depositing the down payments, EWEKA withdrew funds in amounts greater than the down payments. EWEKA continued his efforts to sell the Lexington property to entities he controlled, at the same time sending a series of emails to the would-be property buyers to lull them into a false sense of security and to postpone their ultimate complaint to authorities about the theft of their deposits.
Judge Saris scheduled sentencing for January 20, 2012. EWEKA faces up 20 years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine for each count of wire fraud.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Robert Bethel, Inspector in Charge of United States Postal Service made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan M. DiSantis of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.