FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 7, 2012
CAMDEN, N.J. – Newark Police Officer Victor Patela was convicted today of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, two counts of loan application fraud and bank bribery, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
The jury returned the guilty verdict against Patela, 36, following a one-week trial before U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman in Camden federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:
Patela conspired to defraud Spencer Savings Bank, located in Elmwood Park, N.J., by providing false statements and documents in order to secure a $1,920,000 commercial loan for JVI Realty LLC, ("JVI") a New Jersey limited liability company solely owned by Patela. Patela made bribery payments to a bank employee, who served as the loan officer on JVI Realty's commercial loan. On August 30, 2004, Patela paid a $10,000 bribe to a Spencer Savings Bank employee.
Approximately two weeks later, Patela applied for a commercial real estate loan from Spencer Savings Bank to purchase apartment buildings located in Elizabeth, N.J. In order to obtain the loan, Patela signed a Personal Financial Statement ("PFS") falsely reporting that he had a net worth that included $430,000 cash in bank accounts and real estate valued at $3.5 million. Patela signed the PFS underneath the Representations and Warranties section, agreeing the information was correct, although he knew he did not have the money.
In connection with complying with Spencer Savings Bank's condition that Patela demonstrate proof that he had $480,000 to make a down payment on the properties in Elizabeth, Patela submitted a fake real estate contract to the bank.
The Mortgage & Security Agreement JVI entered into with Spencer Savings prohibited Patela from encumbering or mortgaging the Elizabeth apartment buildings without the bank's written consent. However, JVI, through Patela, subsequently secured a second mortgage on the Elizabeth apartment buildings – signing the second mortgage and mortgage note as a corporate officer of JVI. The $300,000 loan was used as part of the $480,000 equity contribution to purchase the Elizabeth apartment buildings. The same day, Patela, through JVI, paid the bank employee a $20,000 bribe and over the next year paid the bank employee more than $10,000 in separate payments.
Each of the five counts carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million. Sentencing is not yet scheduled
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Michael B. Ward, Special Agent in Charge, in Newark, for the investigation leading to today's conviction.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zahid N. Quraishi and Vikas Khanna of the U.S. Attorney's Office Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.
Defense counsel: Anna G. Cominsky Esq., Newark