Attorney Sentenced For His Role In Mortgage Fraud Scheme
CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051
BUFFALO, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Laurence Savedoff, Esq., 44, of New City, NY, who was convicted of misprision of a felony, was sentenced to serve four months in prison by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elizabeth R. Moellering and Kathleen A. Lynch, who handled the case, stated that between 2008 and 2009, the defendant represented The Funding Source (“TFS”), a mortgage bank, as the settlement attorney. The defendant’s law office was used to execute the closings for the eight real estate transactions for properties located in Bronx, NY, which involved efforts by five other individuals fraudulently to obtain mortgages that were insured by FHA on behalf of unqualified borrowers. For all eight transactions, the defendant caused the signing of the HUD-1 settlement statement and FHA Addendum to the HUD-1 knowing that the information therein was false.
Although he did not know the full extent of the scheme, the defendant became aware that others were using him to help defraud financial institutions. The defendant failed to notify authorities, including federal authorities, of these other individuals’ use of fraud to obtain funds from TFS. Furthermore, the defendant took affirmative steps to conceal the fraud by signing the HUD-1 Settlement Statement and FHA Addendum, or by having his paralegal sign them. Those documents were later forwarded by TFS, which he knew would be sent to financial institutions, including M&T Bank located in the Western District of New York. One duty of the defendant in his role as settlement attorney was to certify that the disbursements written on the HUD-1 accurately reflected the disbursements in the transactions. The HUD-1 and other financial documents were sent to financial institutions to show that the borrowers met FHA’s requirement of providing a 3-3.5% down payment. The defendant was aware that the borrowers in all eight transactions did not provide that down payment. Nevertheless, the defendant, or his paralegal at this direction, certified on the HUD-1 and in the FHA Addendum that the disbursements listed therein were accurate. As a result of the aforementioned facts, financial institutions, including M&T Bank, purchased the fraudulently originated loans from TFS.
The total amount of the mortgage loans for these eight transactions was $4,800,007.
The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service under the direction of Joseph W. Cronin, Inspector in Charge, Boston Division, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brad Geary; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gary Loeffert. Additionally, the New York State Department of Financial Services assisted with the investigation.
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