FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2011
CAMDEN, N.J. – A New Jersey man admitted today to conspiring to participate in a mortgage fraud scheme causing lenders to release more than $1.4 million based on fraudulent mortgage loan applications, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Donald Cromwell, Jr., 36, of East Orange, N.J., pleaded guilty to an Information charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He entered his guilty plea before United States District Judge Jerome B. Simandle in Camden federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made during Cromwell’s guilty plea proceeding:
Cromwell recruited “straw buyers” to purchase numerous properties in New Jersey. The straw buyers had good credit scores but lacked the financial resources to qualify for mortgage loans. Cromwell and one of his co-conspirators created false documents such as fake verifications of rent, verifications of employment, bank statements, New Jersey Residential Lease Agreements, Forms W-2, and pay stubs to make the straw buyers appear more creditworthy than they actually were in order to induce the lenders to make the loans to them.
Cromwell caused fraudulent mortgage loan applications in the name of the straw buyers and supporting documents to be submitted to mortgage lenders. The mortgage loan applications were false in that they attributed to the straw buyers inflated income and assets in order to induce the mortgage lenders to approve the loans. Once the loans were approved and the mortgage lenders sent the loan proceeds in connection with real estate closings on the properties, Cromwell took a portion of the proceeds from the fraudulent mortgage loans by cashing checks issued at closing or having checks deposited into various accounts that he controlled. Cromwell caused the mortgage lenders to release more than $1.4 million based on fraudulent mortgage loan applications.
The charge to which Cromwell pleaded guilty carries a statutory maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. In addition, Cromwell agreed to forfeit $86,911.98, representing the amount of proceeds obtained as a result of the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for August 17, 2011.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents from the FBI’s Atlantic City Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward in Newark, with the investigation leading to the guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney R. Stephen Stigall of the United States Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.
Defense Counsel: Edward F. Borden, Jr., Cherry Hill, N.J.