FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 12, 2012
NEWARK, N.J. – A former employee of a Parsippany, N.J., mortgage lender admitted today to taking $138,402 in illegitimate proceeds of multiple home sales as a result of a mortgage fraud scheme, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Jorge Abbud, 33, of Dover, N.J., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William H. Walls in Newark federal court to an Information charging him with wire fraud.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
In 2008, Abbud was an employee of a Parsippany mortgage lender. He admitted that he targeted homeowners in New Jersey who had equity in their homes, but were facing foreclosure because of their inability to pay their monthly mortgage payments. Abbud falsely promised to help these homeowners avoid foreclosure, keep their homes, and repair their damaged credit. He instructed the homeowners to permit the titles of their homes to be recorded in the names of third-party purchasers ( “straw buyers”) for approximately one to three years, promising the homeowners that he would improve their credit scores during that time, obtain mortgages with more favorable interest rates for them and return the titles of the homes to the homeowners.
Abbud said he then recruited straw buyers with good credit scores to act as buyers of the homes facing foreclosure. He told the straw buyers they were helping the homeowners keep their homes, and that the straw buyers would make money when the homes were sold back to the original homeowners. Abbud admitted that on certain occasions, and notwithstanding his promises to the homeowners and straw buyers, the homes fell into foreclosure.
Abbud sometimes caused the straw buyers to misrepresent their incomes in loan applications and other documents in order to secure the loans to purchase the homes. Abbud caused the funds disbursed by the financial institution or lender underwriting the loan to be sent to individuals and entities that were not legally entitled to them. Abbud personally obtained $138,402 in illegitimate proceeds of the home sales as a result of his scheme and artifice to defraud.
The wire fraud count to which Abbud pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine or twice the gross amount of any pecuniary gain or loss resulting from the offense. Sentencing before Judge Walls is scheduled for April 17, 2012.
Anyone who has information about this case or believes he or she may have been a victim is asked to contact the Newark office of the FBI at (973) 792-3000.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward, for the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Mendelsohn of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
This case was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working 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.
Defense counsel: Assistant Federal Public Defender Patrick McMahon, Newark