North Hills Man Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud and Money Laundering
PITTSBURGH, Pa. - A resident of Gibsonia, Pa., pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of bank fraud and money laundering, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
Peter Cicero, 41, pleaded guilty to two counts before United States District Judge David Cercone, and Cicero agreed to accept responsibility for the other six counts of the Indictment.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Cicero participated in several fraud schemes. Cicero defrauded Community Bank in connection with the $1.8 million loan made to fund Cicero's $3.3 million purchase of certain companies associated with closing real estate transactions. Cicero defrauded Community Bank by overstating the true sales price of the companies, falsely representing that sources outside of the closing companies would make substantial payment toward the purchase of the companies, when, in fact, Cicero took money from the very companies that he was purchasing to fund the purchase. Cicero submitted to Community Bank a forged subordination agreement and received $500,000 back from the seller of the companies after the closing, which represented an overstatement of the sales price.
In separate schemes, Cicero caused the submission of fraudulent loan applications and other documents to lenders to obtain loan collateralized by real estate. The false representations to secure loans including overstating income, understating liabilities, and failing to pay liabilities associated with the collateral servicing the loan. He also directed an individual to remove a lien from a title report. Cicero committed money laundering by causing a wire transfer of some of the proceeds of the mortgage fraud scheme to an account at Mars National Bank.
Cicero also committed bankruptcy fraud by concealing money and jewelry in connection with his bankruptcy filings, and access device fraud by using a credit card without authorization.
Judge Cercone scheduled sentencing for Oct. 15, 2013. The law provides for a total sentence of 50 years in prison, a fine of $1,500,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant United States Attorney Brendan T. Conway is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Mortgage Fraud Task Force conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Cicero. 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 Investigations; 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.