Queens Man Sentenced to 21 Months in Prison for Defrauding Mortgage Lending Institutions
Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, James Bayfield was sentenced by United States District Judge Eric N. Vitaliano to 21 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud. Bayfield was also ordered to pay $184,651 in forfeiture. Bayfield, a self-described mortgage specialist, was convicted by a federal jury in January 2017 for his role in a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced the sentencing.
“Bayfield has portrayed himself as a mortgage specialist, but now stands exposed as a convicted thief who used his knowledge of real estate transactions to carry out his fraudulent schemes against lending institutions,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “This Office will continue working with our law enforcement partners to vigorously prosecute those who commit mortgage fraud and enrich themselves at the expense of lenders left holding the loans.” Mr. Donoghue thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General; the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General; the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General; and the New York State Department of Financial Services for their hard work and dedication over the course of this multi-year investigation and prosecution.
Between September 2008 and May 2011, Bayfield and his co-conspirators caused mortgage loan applications with false information to be submitted to lending institutions, including Amtrust, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, in connection with the purchase of residential properties located in Brooklyn and Queens. These applications contained fraudulently inflated purchase prices and false information about the assets and income of the purported purchasers, many of whom were paid to act as straw purchasers. Bayfield and his co-conspirators also provided false down payment checks to make it appear as if the straw purchasers and other borrowers had made down payments on the properties.
To complete their scheme, Bayfield and his co-conspirators conducted simultaneous and secretive purchases and sales of the properties, sometimes called “flips,” at inflated prices. Ultimately, the lending institutions issued millions of dollars of mortgage loans secured by properties with inflated appraisal values, and many of these loans were placed into default status.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Business and Securities Fraud Section. Assistant United States Attorneys David C. Pitluck, Mark E. Bini and Michael T. Keilty are in charge of the prosecution.
Queens, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 14-CR-356 (S-1) (ENV)