Bergen County, N.J., Woman Admits Role In $2 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme
NEWARK, N.J. - A Bergen County, N.J., woman today admitted her role in a large-scale mortgage fraud scheme that caused millions of dollars in losses, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Klary Arcentales, 45, of Lyndhurst, N.J., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court to an indictment charging her with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and four counts of bank fraud.
According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Between 2007 and 2012, Arcentales engaged in a mortgage fraud conspiracy through a company called Premier Mortgage Services (Premier), where she worked as a loan officer. Arcentales provided false and fraudulent documents to financial institutions in connection with mortgage loan applications on behalf of “straw buyers” to induce those financial institutions to fund mortgage loans. Arcentales then profited illegally by receiving a commission from Premier for each mortgage loan that she closed and by diverting portions of the fraudulently obtained mortgage proceeds to herself.
Two other conspirators, Lester Soto, 57, of Freehold, N.J., and Linda Cohen, 56, of Orange, N.J., previously pleaded guilty in connection with their roles in the mortgage fraud scheme. Soto acted as a loan officer on certain Premier mortgage loan applications and took a percentage of Premier’s profits. Soto employed document makers to create false and fraudulent documents in furtherance of the scheme and put loan officers at Premier, including Arcentales, in contact with these document makers to create other false and fraudulent documents. Soto is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 10, 2014.
Cohen was a paralegal who served as the settlement agent on mortgage loans brokered by Arcentales for various properties. Cohen convened closings, received funds from lenders, and prepared “HUD-1” reports that claimed to reflect the sources and destinations of funds for mortgages on subject properties. However, the HUD-1s were neither true nor accurate. Cohen is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 18, 2014.
Arcentales faces a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million, or twice the gross gain or loss caused by her offense. Sentencing is currently scheduled for May 19, 2014.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford, and special agents of the IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Shantelle P. Kitchen, for the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. Fishman also thanked the Social Security Administration-Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Edward Ryan, for its participation in the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rahul Agarwal and Zach Intrater of the Criminal Division in Newark.
This case was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed nearly 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit www.stopfraud.gov
Defense counsel: Michael Orozco Esq., Newark