Sewickley Woman Convicted on All Counts in Mortgage Fraud Scheme
PITTSBURGH, Pa. - After deliberating for a day and a half, a federal jury found Denise Bonfilio guilty of nine counts of wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
Bonfilio, 55, was tried before United States District Judge Joy Flowers Conti in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
According to Assistant United States Attorney James Y. Garrett, who prosecuted the case, the evidence presented at trial established that Bonfilio participated in a mortgage fraud scheme that included presenting to lending institutions fraudulent loan applications that overstated the borrowers' financial condition in connection with loans collateralized by properties located in the Sewickley and Fox Chapel sections of Allegheny County, Pa. Bonfilio submitted documents to the lenders that overstated the true sales prices of the properties, fraudulent appraisals that overstated the true fair market values of the properties, and fraudulent settlement statements that represented that the funds associated with the loans were to be distributed contrary to the way the funds were actually distributed. In addition, the indictment alleges that Bonfilio represented to some of the purchasers of the properties that she intended to use money from the transactions to make improvements to the properties, when in fact, she used a substantial portion of those funds for her personal benefit.
Judge Conti deferred sentencing to a date to be determined pending the completion of a presentence report. The law provides for a total sentence of 170 years in prison, a fine of $2,250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based on the seriousness of the offenses and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Pending sentencing, the court continued Bonfilio on bond.
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.