News and Press Releases

Father, Daughter Plead Guilty In Mortgage Fraud Scheme

August 16, 2010

PITTSBURGH, Pa. ‑ Two residents of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of wire fraud conspiracy and tax evasion, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Colleen Chiavetta, 37, pleaded guilty to two counts before United States Court of Appeals Judge D. Michael Fisher. Colleen Chiavetta's father, John Chiavetta, 71, pleaded guilty to one count before Judge Fisher.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Colleen Chiavetta, along with other members of the conspiracy, operated People's Home Mortgage, which was a mortgage company that assisted individuals in obtaining financing collateralized by real estate.  Colleen Chiavetta and other individuals submitted fraudulent loan applications and supporting documents to lenders that overstated the financial condition of the borrowers, including their income and assets. The supporting documents also overstated the true sales prices of the properties, falsely represented that the borrowers were making down payments associated with the loans, and included appraisals that overstated the true value of the properties.

Approximately four of the fraudulent loan applications were submitted on behalf of John Chiavetta. Those loan applications and related documents included misrepresentations related to John Chiavetta's income and assets.

Judge Fisher scheduled sentencing for both defendants for December 16, 2010. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 25 years in prison, a fine of $350,000, or both for Colleen Chiavetta and a maximum total sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both for John Chiavetta.  Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the criminal history, if any, of the defendants.

Assistant United States Attorneys Brendan T. Conway and James Kitchen are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Mortgage Fraud Task Force conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Colleen Chiavetta and John Chiavetta.  The Mortgage Fraud Task Force is comprised of investigators from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and others involved in the mortgage industry. Federal law enforcement agencies participating in the Mortgage Task Force include the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation; the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General; the United States Postal Inspection Service; and the United States Secret Service. Other Mortgage Fraud Task Force members include the Allegheny County Sheriff's Office; the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office, Bureau of Consumer Protection; the Pennsylvania Department of Banking; the Pennsylvania Department of State, Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation; and the United States Trustee's Office.

Mortgage industry members with knowledge of fraudulent activity are encouraged to call the Mortgage Fraud Task Force at (412) 894‑7550.  Consumers are encouraged to report suspected mortgage fraud by calling the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 441‑2555.

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