Bergen County, N.J., Woman Indicted In $2 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme
NEWARK, N.J. – A Bergen County, N.J., woman was indicted today for her role in a long-running, large-scale mortgage fraud scheme that caused millions of dollars in losses, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Klary Arcentales, 44, of Lyndhurst, N.J., was charged in a five-count Indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and four counts of bank fraud, all of which caused losses of at least $2 million.
According to the Indictment and other documents filed in this case:
As early as 2006, Arcentales engaged in a mortgage fraud conspiracy through a company called Premier Mortgage Services (PMS). Arcentales, a loan officer at PMS, provided 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. Relying upon those false documents, financial institutions funded mortgage loans. Arcentales then profited illegally by receiving a commission from PMS for each mortgage loan that she closed and also profited illegally by diverting portions of the fraudulently-obtained mortgage proceeds for herself.
Conspirator Lester Soto, 56, previously charged by Complaint, was a part-owner of PMS. He also acted as a loan officer on certain PMS mortgage loan applications. Soto took a percentage of PMS’s profits. Soto employed document makers to create fraudulent documents in furtherance of the scheme and put loan officers at PMS, including Arcentales, in contact with these document makers to create other false and fraudulent documents.
Conspirator Linda Cohen, 55, previously charged by Complaint, was a paralegal who closed transactions on behalf of a licensed New Jersey attorney. Cohen 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 forms – which itemize services and fees charged to borrowers for mortgage loans – that purported to reflect the sources and destinations of funds for mortgages on subject properties. In fact, the HUD-1s were neither true nor accurate. At or following the closings, Cohen disbursed mortgage loan proceeds directly to PMS, herself, and others, including in amounts not reflected on the HUD-1s. Cohen received a fee for each fraudulent loan in which she participated.
Conspirator Antonio Pimenta, 45, previously charged by Complaint, owned and managed Kelmar Construction Co., which built properties that were then sold to straw buyers utilizing fraudulent mortgage loans brokered by Arcentales.
The Indictment charges Arcentales with one count of bank fraud conspiracy and four counts of bank fraud, each punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1,000,000.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford; special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Shantelle P. Kitchen, for the investigation leading to today’s charges. 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 of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crimes Unit and Zach Intrater of the Economic Crimes Unit 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.
The charges and allegations contained in the Indictment and Complaints are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Arcentales: Ronald Ricci Esq., Woodland Park, N.J.
Soto: Jeff Smith Esq., of Teaneck, N.J.
Cohen: Brian Daly Esq., of Middletown, N.J.
Pimenta: Linda Foster Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark