Dual U.S.-Irish Citizen Extradited from Ireland to Face Mortgage Fraud Charges
BOSTON – A dual U.S.-Irish citizen was arraigned late yesterday in federal court in Boston on charges of mortgage fraud and identity theft after being extradited from Ireland. It was Ireland’s first extradition to the United States since 2012.
Patrick Lee, 44, a dual U.S.-Irish citizen formerly residing in Canton and Easton, Mass., was indicted in 2011 on 29 counts of wire fraud, six counts of unlawful monetary transactions, and 16 counts of aggravated identity theft. Lee had been living in Ireland since 2007.
It is alleged that Lee participated in a mortgage fraud scheme from 2005-2007, shortly before the real estate bubble burst. According to the indictment, Lee and others bought multi-family properties in Dorchester and South Boston and converted them into condominiums. Straw buyers were recruited and paid a fee to sign the purchase documents, although the straw buyers had no intention of living in the condominiums. Lee and others then engaged mortgage brokers to prepare false mortgage loan applications to be signed by the straw buyers, and then Lee, who was not a licensed real estate appraiser, prepared appraisals for the properties using the name and license number of an actual licensed appraiser. It is further alleged that Lee arranged with certain real estate attorneys to conduct closings for the transactions by using false and misleading documents, and then loan applications were sent to mortgage lenders, who funded the loans based on the false appraisals and other misrepresentations. The loan proceeds were paid to Lee and the other sellers, and the straw buyers never moved into the properties or paid the mortgage loans. Eventually, the properties went into foreclosure, and the lenders lost their money.
It is further alleged that some closing documents represented that Lee would receive a certain portion of the loan proceeds as the seller, but in fact he received more. The indictment also charges that Lee prepared appraisals for certain properties that he himself bought or sold, but the appraisals falsely represented that the appraiser, who was represented to be someone other than Lee, was independent and not related to the seller or the buyer.
For some of the wire fraud counts, the charging statute provides for a sentence of no greater than 30 years in prison, five years of supervised release, and a fine of $1 million. The remaining wire fraud counts provide for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. The charging statute for unlawful monetary transactions provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000; and the charge of aggravated identity theft provides for a mandatory sentence of two years in prison, up to one year of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb; Joel P. Garland, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston; Stephen A. Marks, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service, Boston Field Office; and U.S. Marshal John Gibbons for the District of Massachusetts made the announcement today. The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs provided assistance in securing Lee’s extradition to the United States. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sandra S. Bower and Christine Wichers of Weinreb’s Criminal Division are prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.