BUFFALO, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced today that a federal grand jury has returned a 24 count indictment charging Gregory Gibbons, 50, of Thornwood, NY; Julio Rodriguez, 51, of Bronx, NY; Laurence Savedoff, 42, of New City, NY, and Tina Brown, 40, of Bronx, New York with conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud affecting financial institutions, wire and mail fraud affecting financial institutions, and bank fraud. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.
“Persons who engage in mortgage fraud undermine the American dream of home ownership,” said U.S Attorney Hochul. “Such actions – if successful – hurt potential homeowners, banks and government programs designed to assist homebuyers.
“In the last number of years, we have seen enormous and damaging developments in the mortgage and housing markets, said U.S. Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, Special Agent in Charge Brad Geary. “Indictments, such as this, set an important precedent that this type of behavior will not be tolerated and will be aggressively pursued. We are deeply committed to working in partnership with our federal law enforcement counterparts to ensure that corrupt individuals do not use their positions to enrich themselves at the expense of the government.”
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kathleen A. Lynch and Elizabeth R. Moellering, who are handling the case, stated that according to the indictment, the defendants engaged in scheme to obtain mortgages on behalf of borrowers who would not have otherwise qualified for those loans if their true income, asset and employment information was submitted to the lender for approval and for FHA insurance.
Specifically, to secure a loan, the defendants would submit among other things, employment documents that falsified the purchaser’s income, assets, and place of employment. In addition, the defendants submitted false settlement statements to the banks indicating where the proceeds of the loan were disbursed.
As a result, based on the fraudulent information and certifications submitted, loans amounting to more than $4,100,000 were approved for the borrowers. Subsequently, the borrowers defaulted on the loans and the properties are now in various stages of foreclosure.
Defendants Laurence Savedoff, Julio Rodriguez and Tina Brown, were arraigned this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder, Jr. and were released with conditions.
The indictment is the culmination of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service under the direction of Shelly Binkowski, 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 Adam S. Cohen. Additionally, the New York State Department of Financial Services assisted with the investigation.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.