Former Newspaper Publisher, Mortgage Broker, Mortgage Lender and Real Estate Agent Sentenced in $20 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme
A former Miami newspaper publisher, mortgage broker, mortgage lender and real estate agent was sentenced in federal court today to serve 180 months imprisonment for leading a $20 million mortgage fraud scheme.
Benjamin G. Greenberg, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Robert F. Lasky, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.
Marco Laureti, 46, of Sunny Isles Beach, was sentenced to 180 months imprisonment, to be followed by five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $8,316,135, in restitution. In November 2017, after a three-week trial, Laureti was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349 and seven counts of wire fraud affecting a financial institution, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343 (Case No. 16-60340-CR-Bloom(s)(Cohn)).
“The sentence imposed is a success in our continuing efforts to fight mortgage fraud that jeopardizes our nation’s financial institutions,” said U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg. “Laureti was a prominent businessman who used his reputation to perpetrate the $20,000,000 mortgage fraud scheme, which thanks to the efforts of law enforcement, was successfully unraveled. We will continue to investigate and prosecute individuals who engage in deceptive and fraudulent behavior that is fueled by greed.”
“Criminals are always looking for ways to exploit vulnerabilities and devise methods to defraud,” said Robert F. Lasky, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami. “Marco Laureti and his co-conspirators implemented a mortgage fraud scheme for their own personal enrichment, but instead got an investigation, a trial and a conviction. Would-be mortgage fraudsters beware: The FBI remains committed to rooting out this type of fraud.”
According to evidence presented at trial, Laureti and co-conspirators were involved in a $20 million mortgage fraud scheme. Laureti was a former newspaper publisher and owner of Laureti Publishing Company and multiple companies, including Northview Equities LLC, Northview Real Estate LLC, Northview Capital LLC, Laureti Holdings Company, Laureti Media Group, Inc., ReTrade, Inc., and M4 Management LLC, in addition to being a licensed Florida real estate agent and formerly licensed Florida mortgage broker.
At trial, the government presented evidence that the defendant and his co-conspirators engaged in a fraud scheme involving a condominium complex located at 45 Hendricks Isle in Fort Lauderdale. The defendant and other co-conspirators made false and fraudulent statements to a financial institution on mortgage loan applications, including grossly inflating income and bank account balances. These defendants also made fraudulent representations on the closing statements for these multi-million dollar condominiums. Once these loans were approved, a co-conspirator, at Laureti’s direction, diverted the loan proceeds to fund the cash the borrower was expected to bring to the property’s closing, as well as diverting additional monies from the loan proceeds to various companies owned by Laureti and another co-conspirator. The evidence showed Laureti paid a co-conspirator $10,000 for each fraudulent transaction. Furthermore, Laureti and a co-conspirator utilized the same scheme on the mortgage loan applications and closing statements to purchase their own multi-million dollar residential properties in Miami Beach, including Laureti’s $6.9 million home and a co-conspirator’s $6.5 million dollar condominium. The defendants’ scheme defrauded the financial institution of approximately $20 million in disbursed mortgage loans.
Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of the FBI. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Randy Katz and Karen O. Stewart.