Erie County financial planner admits to larceny and fraud 

New York Attorney General Press Release 

Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announced on January 21, 2005 that an Erie County financial planner has pleaded guilty to three felony charges stemming from a scheme which took advantage of elderly victims.

The defendant, Randall Cedrik, 43, a financial planner from Angola, pled guilty to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class “D” felony, Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class “E” felony and Fraud in the Sale of Securities, a Class “E” felony. Judge Michael L. D’Amico accepted the plea and scheduled sentencing for March 18 in Erie County Court. Cedrik will be sentenced to 1 to 3 years in state prison.

At today’s appearance, Cedrik admitted that he made false representations to convince several elderly people to invest vast sums of their savings in his company, Global Assets Consulting. According to court records, he encouraged some of his clients to secure home equity loans to fund additional investments. To induce these investments he guaranteed a return on investment of 8.25 percent as well as a partial interest in his company.

“The criminal resolution of this matter brings the anticipated recovery of $457,844 to three elderly investors and sends a message that unscrupulous activity by investment advisors will not be tolerated,” Spitzer said.


Ex husband accused of forging ex-wfies signature to refinance home

Milford Daily News Poice Report  MILFORD — Sylvester Omuemu, 46, of 13 Bodio Circle, was arrested Monday at the police station and faces 16 fraud-related charges, according to the police report.

The charges are: conspiracy, forgery of a bank note, forgery of a check, inducement to part with property, using false pretense in a commercial transaction worth more than $250, obtaining a credit of more than $250 with a false financial statement, six counts of uttering a false document and four counts of document forgery, the report said.

Itohan Morgan, Omuemu’s ex-wife, went to police Jan. 20 to tell them someone had used her identity to obtain a mortgage with Omuemu, according to the report. Morgan said she received a late-payment notice from Countrywide Home Loans with a balance of $55,000 more than she had originally borrowed.

Morgan told police she contacted Countrywide and was told she and Omuemu refinanced the mortgage Dec. 12, which Morgan said she did not. Omuemu was called into the station Monday, read his rights and held on $5,000 cash bail, the report said. He was arraigned Tuesday in Milford District Court. Further information on the arraignment was unavailable yesterday.

Read about the New Milford Police Dept here


Disbarred attorney and retired NYPD officer indicted for fraud and obstruction of justice.

US DOJ Press Release  -

DAVID N. KELLEY, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, today announced that HOWARD THALER, 60, a disbarred New York attorney, and SALVATORE LOBREGLIO, 64 a retired New York City police officer, were indicted on conspiracy and other charges related to THALER’s alleged procurement of numerous bank loans through fraudulent means, and THALER’s and LOBREGLIO’s alleged attempts to thwart the federal investigation into these frauds.

According to the Indictment, THALER schemed to defraud banks and others of more than $1.2 million. The Indictment alleges that in connection with one real estate transaction, THALER schemed to defraud the estate of a deceased individual by having a stand-in pose as the deceased during a sale of real property belonging to the estate and then pocketing the proceeds for himself. THALER and LOBREGLIO are both charged with conspiring to obstruct justice by counseling a third party to provide false statements to federal agents investigating THALER’s frauds, and by failing to produce documents sought by and making false statements to the Grand Jury investigating them.


Man sentenced in ID Theft scheme which used documents discarded by a mortgage company 

US DOJ Press Release - February 2, 2005

St. Louis, Missouri: A St. Louis area man has been sentenced to 100 months in prison on credit card fraud charges, United States Attorney James G. Martin announced today.

This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Social Security Administration and several local police departments, including Florissant, Chesterfield and Fairview Heights, Illinois. Assistant United States Attorney John Bodenhausen handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

JEROME HARDENE , a/k/a Jeremy Smith, 44, of the 19000 block of Old Jamestown Road, St. Louis, 63034, was sentenced to 100 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of over $100,000. On May 24, 2004, Hardene pled guilty to one felony count relating to a credit card fraud scheme. He appeared yesterday for sentencing before Chief United States District Judge Carol E. Jackson.

According to the facts filed with the court at the time of the plea, Hardene obtained discarded loan documents from a local mortgage company. Some of these documents contained an individual’s name, social security number and other personal information. Hardene used that personal information to create a false Missouri Driver License. Hardene then used the identity to fraudulently open a Lowe’s Home Improvement Store instant credit card account. Between March 22 and 24, 2003, Hardene charged and attempted to charge approximately $15,000 in goods at Lowe’s stores in Illinois and Missouri. He would buy items that had previously been picked out by a contractor. Afterwards, the contractor would pay the defendant 50% of the sales price in cash. Ms. Hrobowski was paid a percentage of that money.

Hardene was arrested at a Lowe’s store by Florissant Police Officers on March 24, 2003, after charging $6,000 on the fraudulently obtained credit card. A subsequent search of Hardene’s residence revealed loan documents, false ID cards and ID making equipment.


Alabama mortgage company officer indicted in HUD fraud

US DOJ Press Release – February 2, 2005

BIRMINGHAM, AL - United States Attorney Alice H. Martin of the Northern District of Alabama, William Creel, Special Agent in Charge, Southeast Carribean Region, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of the Inspector General, and Carmen S. Adams, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, announce that TAVARES CHARLES WILLIAMS has been indicted by a federal grand jury for Social Security fraud, submitting false statements, and theft of government property.

TAVARES WILLIAMS, 29, of Trussville, Alabama, was charged in a seven-count indictment filed today at U.S. District Court in Birmingham.

Counts One through Three of the indictment charge that WILLIAMS, employed as a mortgage company officer, used false social security numbers enabling ineligible home purchasers to qualify for Federal Housing Administration guaranteed loans. Counts Four through Six charge WILLIAMS with making false representations on HUD application documents. Count Seven charges WILLIAMS with theft of government property. The criminal conduct alleged in the indictment occurred from October 1999 until July 27, 2000.


3 plead guilty in flipping scam

According to Court Records and a report by Ken Alltucker in the Cincinnati Enquirer, Federal prosecutors laid information’s and plea agreements for 3 men accused in a Mortgage Fraud scheme.

Donald M. Powers Jr., is accused of two counts of which involves the flipping of the property 1794 Carll Street, Cincinnati which was bought by Powers for $37,000 and sold 2 months later for  $78,000. Powers has agreed to plead guilty to the fraud involved in this transaction and an offence against the IRS. Powers formerly ran a title company, Premier Land Title of Glendale. Powers’ deals cost lenders estimated losses or potential losses of $3.5 million.

Click here for the Information and here for the Plea Agreement.

Richard J. Fraser was a loan officer at Charter First Banc in Fairfield who was involved in recruiting investors (straw borrowers) to purchase flipped properties. Fraser cost lenders estimated losses or potential losses of $1.6 million. He pleaded guilty to 3 counts, Conspiracy, Fraud and an IRS offence.

Click here for the Information and here for the Plea Agreement.

David Green purchased the property, 1858 Denham Street, Cincinnati for $19,400 and then 8 months later sold it for $78,000, a fourfold increase. Green also agreed to plead guilty to 3 counts, Conspiracy, Fraud and an IRS offence.

Click here for the information and here for the plea agreement 


Title company owner and employee charged in widespread scheme

US DOJ Press Release - February 1, 2005

Michael A. Battle, the United States Attorney for the Western District of New York, announced that Janet Faticone, age 40, of 705 Mackenzie Court, Webster, New York, and Ronald DiPonzio, age 63, of 990 Center Road, Greece, New York, were charged in a criminal complaint signed by the Honorable Jonathan W. Feldman with mail fraud in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341, which charges a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, a $250,000 fine, or both.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard A. Resnick, who is handling the case, stated that Faticone, DiPonzio and Denise Strollo orchestrated a scheme to defraud various individuals seeking to obtain mortgage loans from Strollo. Strollo was a mortgage broker operating a branch office for Professional Mortgage Group located at 1800 English Road, Suites 2 & 4, in Rochester, New York. Faticone was the owner of Pogal Title Agency, Inc. located at 16 East Main Street, Suite 260, Reynolds Arcade Building, Rochester, New York 14614. DiPonzio was an employee at Pogal Title.

The scheme involved charging Strollo’s customers with false and inflated expenses. The defendants did this by falsifying the HUD1 settlement statements, which were required to list and identify the actual costs and expenses associated with a mortgage loan. For example, on or about October 29, 2004, James Washington of 65-67 Barlett Street, Rochester, New York obtained a refinance mortgage loan in the amount of $67,500.00 from Argent Mortgage Company located in White Plains, New York. Strollo was the mortgage broker who assisted Washington in obtaining the loan.

DiPonzio, on behalf of Pogal Title, represented Washington at the closing of the mortgage loan on October 29, 2004. Faticone’s duties included preparing the HUD1 settlement statement. At the closing of the mortgage loan on October 29, 2004, DiPonzio had Washington sign a HUD1 settlement statement which grossly inflated the actual costs and expenses associated with the loan. Faticone prepared this false HUD1 settlement statement. Washington was then charged these false and grossly inflated costs and expenses. Washington was unaware of what the actually costs and expenses should have been.

After the closing, a different HUD1 settlement statement listing what should have been the actual costs and expenses associated with the loan was sent to Argent Mortgage Company to trick Argent Mortgage Company into believing that the defendants only charged Washington the proper costs and expenses. Washington’s name was forged on this document. Faticone also prepared this HUD1 settlement statement.

As a result of the scheme, Washington was charged excess costs and expenses in the amount of $5,925.00, which represented the difference between the total costs listed on the two HUD1 settlement statements. The defendants, however, by sending or causing to be sent to Argent Mortgage Company the HUD1 listing what should have been the actual expenses charged to Washington, concealed from Argent Mortgage Company the amount of costs and expenses the defendants were charging Washington. The defendants then split the fraudulently received proceeds after the closing.


Law firm recovers $400,000 from fraudsters in Jan 05

A press release from the Prieston Group revealed that it’s affiliated law firm, Lanahan and Reilley, LLP had recovered $400,000 from fraudsters in the month of January 2005.

Ryan Thomas, a lawyer at Lanahan and Reilley, said that his firms motto was “mitigate first and litigate second”, a strategy that was bringing great success to his clients.

Read the full Press Release here