News and Press Releases

Three Charged In Mortgage Fraud Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 12, 2011

PITTSBURGH, Pa. ‑ Three residents of Allegheny County, Pa., have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on charges of wire fraud conspiracy and wire fraud, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

The eight-count indictment named Peter Kamaras, 45, of Pittsburgh, Pa.; Sam Shaheen, 63, of Carnegie, Pa.; and Catherine Slane, 51, of Tarentum, Pa., as defendants.

According to the indictment, Kamaras was a mortgage broker associated with Single Source Mortgage, Slane was a closing agent associated with 1st Olympic Settlement and Shaheen was an appraiser. The indictment alleges that Kamaras, Slane and Shaheen participated in a mortgage fraud conspiracy, along with another individual who operated Triplex properties, which was a business that bought and sold properties.  The conspiracy involved the submission of fraudulent loan applications that overstated the income and assets of the borrowers, and fake documents that falsely corroborated those misrepresentations. The conspiracy also involved closing documents that falsely represented that the buyers made significant down payments associated with the purchase of the properties, when, in fact, they did not make any down payments from their own funds. In addition, the conspiracy involved the submission of fraudulent appraisals by Shaheen that overstated the value of the properties serving as collateral for the loans.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both for each count.  Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendants.

Assistant United States Attorney Brendan T. Conway is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Mortgage Fraud Task Force conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.  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.

An indictment or information is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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