Press Releases

Two Loan Officers Sentenced In Manhattan Federal Court For Participation In A $9 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 14, 2012

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that DORIAN BROWN and FRITZ BONAVENTURE, two mortgage loan officers, were sentenced in Manhattan federal court for their roles in a $9 million mortgage fraud scheme. BROWN was sentenced today to four months in prison and ordered to perform 300 hours of community service after pleading guilty in April 2012 to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and one count of wire fraud. BONAVENTURE was sentenced on September 12, 2012 to three months in prison and six months of home confinement after pleading guilty in April 2012 to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. U.S. District Judge Naomi R. Buchwald sentenced both defendants.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Today’s sentences continue to send the message that those who engage in mortgage fraud will be caught, prosecuted, and forced to forfeit their ill-gotten gains.”

According to the Indictment and statements made in court proceedings:

BROWN, BONAVENTURE, and 10 other individuals, defrauded various lending institutions by using fraudulent “straw identities” to apply for mortgage loans. BROWN and BONAVENTURE facilitated the preparation and processing of fraudulent mortgage applications by matching straw buyers and loan processors with lending institutions. Through the scheme, the defendants were able to obtain more than $9 million in mortgage loans for the purchase of dozens of residential properties throughout the New York City metropolitan area and Long Island. Most of the loans quickly went into default.

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In addition to his prison term, BROWN, 38, of Mount Sinai, New York, was sentenced to two years of supervised release. He was also ordered to forfeit $1,845,600 and to pay a $200 special assessment fee.

In addition to his prison term, BONAVENTURE, 30, of Lithonia, Georgia, was sentenced to one year of supervised release. He was also ordered to forfeit $450,000 and to pay a $100 special assessment fee.

Co-defendants Jeffrey Larochelle, Denise Parks, Frederick Warren, Joell Barnett, Foriduzzaman Sarder, Sakat Hossain, Mikael Huq, Eric Finger, and Reginald Johnson also previously pled guilty. Of the five defendants who have already been sentenced by Judge Buchwald:

  • Sarder was sentenced in April 2011 to 78 months in prison;

  • Hossain was sentenced in March 2012 to 29 months in prison;

  • Huq was sentenced in July 2012 to 42 months in prison;

  • Parks was sentenced in August 2012 to two years of supervised release; and

  • Warren was sentenced in August 2012 to 51 months in prison.

The remaining four defendants await sentencing.

Criminal charges are pending against Brandon Lisi. The charges against him are merely accusations, and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative efforts of the New York Attorney General’s Office, which led the investigation and has collaborated in the prosecution. He also thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York State Department of Financial Services for their assistance in this case.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael D. Lockard and Ryan P. Poscablo, and Assistant Attorney General Meryl Lutsky – who is designated as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in this case – are in charge of the prosecution.

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