Former Settlement Agent Convicted Of Mortgage Fraud And Tax Evasion
Defrauded Banks of Over $1.1 Million and Evaded Over $450,000 in Personal Income Taxes
NEWARK, N.J. – A former settlement agent from Wyckoff, New Jersey, was convicted at trial today on charges related to the refinancing of properties in Bergen and Morris Counties, New Jersey, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.
Mark Andreotti, 46, was found guilty on all six counts of an indictment charging him with bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, tax evasion, and failure to file tax returns. He was convicted following a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark federal court. The jury deliberated one and a half hours before returning its verdict.
According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:
In January 2010, Andreotti submitted a loan application to a bank requesting $625,000 to refinance the mortgage on his house in Wyckoff. Andreotti, who owned and operated Metropolitan Title and Abstract (Metropolitan), used Metropolitan as the settlement agent on the transaction. After the bank transferred the $625,000 for the refinance to Metropolitan’s escrow account, Andreotti spent the money on personal expenses instead of paying off the first mortgage on the house.
In April 2011, Andreotti conspired with another individual who worked as a real estate attorney to obtain $480,000 by claiming that the money would be used to refinance the mortgage on the attorney’s house in Montville, New Jersey. After the bank transferred the money for the refinance to Metropolitan’s escrow account, Andreotti kept $110,000 for himself before transferring the remaining funds to the other conspirator.
In 2010, the IRS initiated collection actions against Andreotti for unpaid personal income taxes. Despite numerous liens and levies and having five rental income properties in addition to his primary residence, Andreotti continued to evade his taxes. He also failed to file tax returns for the tax years 2010 and 2011.
The bank fraud counts are each punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The tax evasion count is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $100,000 fine. The counts of failure to file tax returns are each punishable by a maximum potential penalty of one year in prison and a $25,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 23, 2018.
Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick credited special agents of the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Steven Perez in Newark; special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark; special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen in Newark; and investigators with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty verdicts.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shana Chen in Newark and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Charlie Divine of the Federal Housing and Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General.
Defense counsel: John P. McGovern Esq. and Christopher Dunn Esq., of Newark.