President of National Settlement Agency Pleads Guilty to Embezzling
Defendant Admits to Stealing More Than $13 Million in Mortgage Refinancing Proceeds
STEVEN LEFF, the former president of National Settlement Agency (“NSA”), pleaded guilty today to a felony information charging him with embezzling the proceeds of mortgage refinancing transactions. The proceedings were held before United States Magistrate Judge Thomas E. Boyle at the U.S. Courthouse, in Central Islip, New York.
The guilty plea was announced by Benton J. Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Mark J. Mershon, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Division.
The government’s pleadings allege that LEFF was entrusted with mortgage refinancing proceeds in his capacity as president of NSA, which acted as a settlement agent for numerous FDIC insured banks. NSA’s function was to disburse these proceeds to various individuals and entities, including individuals who sold and refinanced properties and prior mortgage holders. Instead, LEFF embezzled the proceeds of several refinance loans, which should have been used to pay off the outstanding principal amounts on the prior mortgages. As part of his guilty plea, LEFF admitted that, in total, he stole more than $13 million in refinanced loan proceeds.
“In the midst of a mortgage refinancing boom, the defendant took advantage of his position as a trusted agent of lender banks to embezzle mortgage loan proceeds for his personal gain,” stated United States Attorney Campbell. “The mortgage refinance process relies on all parties to a transaction acting with honesty and integrity. When banks and borrowers are defrauded by one whose job it is to act on their behalf, we will seek to bring the wrongdoer to justice.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Mershon stated, “Leff was entrusted with large sums of
money intended to be disbursed to others in the refinancing process. In simple terms, he stole much of it. We investigate embezzlers as vigorously as we investigate bank robbers.”
When sentenced, LEFF faces a maximum sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan E. Green.
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