BOSTON – A former attorney practicing in Boston was sentenced today for his involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme that resulted in more than $2.5 million in losses.
Charles R. Sammon, 37, of West Pittston, Pa., was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns to 33 months in prison, 36 months of supervised release and $977,042 in restitution to defrauded lenders. In November 2013, Sammon pleaded guilty to wire fraud, mail fraud and unlawful monetary transactions.
Sammon participated in at least 13 fraudulent real estate transactions involving triple-decker apartment buildings in various sections of Boston, including Dorchester, Roxbury, and Jamaica Plain. For eight of those transactions, Sammon served as the real estate closing attorney representing the mortgage lender. For the other five, Sammon participated as the seller of real property himself. The basic scheme involved recruiting people to buy properties by promising to pay them as much as $40,000 per transaction, which was not disclosed to the lenders. Many of the buyers were also promised that the seller would pay the mortgage for upwards of a year. Also central to the scheme was telling the lenders that each borrower intended to occupy the property as their primary residence, which was not true.
Many of the payments to buyers were made directly from Sammon’s law firm bank account on transactions for which he was the closing attorney, but he failed to disclose those payments to the mortgage lenders that he represented. Sammon also received some of the loan proceeds in addition to his legal fees for doing so, which was also not disclosed to the lender. In one transaction, he received more than $50,000.
Each of the loans given for these 13 transactions went into default, usually 12-18 months after the transaction, and all the properties were sold at foreclosure or through a short sale, resulting in combined losses to the lenders of more than $2.5 million.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in New England; Shelly Binkowski, Inspector in Charge of the United States Postal Inspection Service; Steven Marks, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service; and Fred Gibson, Acting Inspector General of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General, made the announcement today. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark J. Balthazard of Ortiz's Economic Crimes Unit and DOJ Trial Attorney Alexander H. Berlin.