The total dollar amount of the loans secured under the scheme was in excess of $16,000,000 dollars.
Palm Coast, FL – July 2, 2010
FLORIDA USDOJ (LoanSafe.org) – Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Amos Rojas, Special Agent in Charge, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office, Henry Gutierrez, Postal Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and J. Thomas Cardwell, Commissioner, State of Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation, announced today that an Indictment was unsealed at the Fort Lauderdale Federal Courthouse against:
Joseph Guaracino, 32, Plantation, Florida
Steven Stoll, 43, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Stephen Orchard, 34, Boca Raton, Florida
Matthew Gulla, 35, Davie, Florida
Rene Rodriguez, Jr., 37, Plantation, Florida
Dennis Guaracino, Jr., 34, Plantation, Florida
Jacqueline Trumbore, 39, Margate, Florida
John Velez, 37, Plantation, Florida
Daryl Radziwon, 39, Plantation, Florida
Casey Mittauer, 37, Cooper City, Florida
Joseph DeRosa, 35, Coral Springs, Florida
Robert DePriest, 41, Plantation, Florida
Joseph LaGrasta, 31, Tamarac, Florida
The Indictment charges the defendants with one count of conspiracy, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, eleven counts of mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341, thirteen counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343, and eight counts of making a false statement to a government agency, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001. Two defendants are charged with obstructing justice, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1512. Not all defendants are charged in all counts. The conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and obstruction of justice counts, each carry a maximum penalty of up to twenty years’ imprisonment. The false statement counts each carry a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment.
According to the Indictment, the defendants engaged in a scheme to enrich themselves by fraudulently causing real property in Broward and Palm Beach Counties to be bought and sold by submitting, and causing to be submitted, false and fraudulent documents to mortgage lenders in order to obtain the loans. The title attorneys falsely represented to the mortgage lenders the source of the deposits/down payments and/or the cash from borrowers needed to close the transactions. The total dollar amount of the loans secured under the scheme was in excess of $16,000,000 dollars.
More specifically, at times relevant to the Indictment, Joseph Guaracino would locate properties to be purchased and negotiated sale contracts along with co-defendants. In order to qualify for mortgage loans, Guaracino and others, caused false information to be submitted to lenders, including forged lease agreements, false bank account balances, and inflated income or salary levels. Dennis Guaracino, Jr., Jacqueline Trumbore, John Velez, Daryl Radziwon, Casey Mittauer, Joseph DeRosa, Robert DePriest and Joseph Lagrasta were investors in the fraudulent real estate investment scheme, who along with others, purchased the properties that Guaracino controlled.
Steven Stoll, a licensed mortgage broker and a licensed attorney, and Stephen Orchard, also a licensed attorney, participated in the scheme by handling the closings of the fraudulently procured loans, along with licensed mortgage brokers Matthew Gulla and Rene Rodriguez, Jr.
U. S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer stated, “This indictment charges a group of individuals who conspired to enrich themselves by committing mortgage fraud. It includes a number of professionals who betrayed their profession for greed, and in the process, undermined the integrity of the mortgage marketplace on which we all rely. Our Office is determined to continue to bring to justice those who engage in such pervasive criminal schemes.”
Special Agent in Charge John V. Gillies of the FBI Miami Division stated, “The FBI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate allegations of fraud.”
“Once again, a complex mortgage fraud scheme in South Florida has resulted in additional arrests on serious charges,” said Amos Rojas, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Miami Regional Operations Center. “Those accused of mortgage fraud – no matter what their role – have left a path of destruction with far too many victims in South Florida, and we will continue to aggressively target, arrest and prosecute those involved in this crime. Justice will be served.”
Commissioner Tom Cardwell of the Florida Office of Financial Regulation stated, “This is an example of how unlawful practices have blemished the mortgage industry and caused damage to Florida’s economy. The Office of Financial Regulation is implementing new rules and regulations regarding qualifications and enforcement that we believe will help protect consumers and create a more sound and stable industry for the benefit of our citizens and economy.”
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigators for their hard work and dedication in this long term investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and State of Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Laurie E. Rucoba, Jeffrey Kay and Michael Patrick Sullivan.
An Indictment is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Just the tip
Stories like this are good to read but are just the very tip of the iceberg. I can’t fathom how many similar stories there are that will go undetected.
I don’t doubt the labor intensiveness of these investigations. Fact is that most of the materials that are likely required to prosecute are held in various places around the country including banks, attorney’s offices, various emails, title companies, etc. The time it would take to locate all of these documents is a staggering thought.
I sometimes get frustrated that these cases are from crimes and frauds that took place 5-6 years ago, sometimes longer. Meanwhile, there are sure to be frauds taking place today that should be investigated and stopped. I suppose those will be investigated in 5-6 years too after the damage is done!
I understand that law enforcement is fighting an uphill battle. It sometimes feels like we are just gerbils on a little wheel running in circles.
Good for you and your associate. I’m not sure what the website will entail but I hope it has a component to get out in front of some of these frauds so that the future of this Country is more protected.
You two certainly have some guts. I don’t think I have the stomach to make that many public enemies. Concern for personal safety would be my biggest fear. Glad you aren’t letting that stand in your way!
I wish you much success.
Fraud on both sides
Toby, please tell me that your new site will include the bank fraud committed by the bank executives and the loan officers. We all know that greed was on both sides. I hope that the attorney general plays fair and put a few of them in jail. They played a major role in this disastrous economy.
They are going after the wrong Crooks!!!
Unfortunately, the government is going after the wrong CROOKS!!! They should be going after the US senators and congressmen who provided the opportunity for this type activity. I’m not saying that these unscrupulous mortage bankers and lawyers aren’t complicit and don’t deserve to get busted, but, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and their ilk deserve much more of the blame for providing the opportunity for this type of deceit. Their insistance on providing easy loans for ALL to afford the "american dream" was the genesis of the "mortgage debacle". When are we going to learn that there isn’t a "free lunch" and we have to earn what we get and not handed to us???? Now, we are seeing the government go after the "bit players" in this fiasco and let the perpetrators hide behind more rhetoric, as they assail the "terrible things" that these nasty mortgage brokers and lawyers did to the poor unsuspecting citizens. WHAT A BUNCH OF CRAP!!!!!
I agree with you Dave. The standards were lowered so less qualified borrowers could qualify for a home loan. This created more demand pushing prices higher and higher. Low rates and lower standards lured anyone with a pulse to buy a house or two. When the less qualified borrowers couldn’t keep up with the payments, supply was greater then demand and the bubble burst. We have our senators and congress people to blame for starting it all.
Reply to John
You are right. It is just the tip of the iceberg. These investigations are so labor intensive – chasing the paperwork trail. Some of the indictments we are beginning to see now and will see in the future are the result of investigations that started months and even years ago. They will never catch more than a small percentage.
Reply to John
An associate and I are launching a new website soon to shed light on fraud. We hope we can help assemble the data necessary for a successful investigation. We urge those with information to contact us. Watch for the new website. It will be announced in GoToby.com.
Reply to Barb
Yes, it will be looking at fraud anywhere along the transaction path from real estate sales agents and brokers, to appraisers, loan originators, title companies, and lenders.
Reply to Barb
Yes, we will be looking at fraud everywhere along the transaction path from real estate sales agents and brokers, to appraisers, loan originators, title companies, and lenders.