Friday, January 5, 2007

23 charged in mortgage fraud scheme

The FBI, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and the New York City Police Department busted a mortgage fraud ring in New York yesterday, according to a press release from the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.

A federal indictment charges 23 Russian brokers, appraisers and bank employees of cooperating on fraudulent mortgage applications. Law enforcement agencies arrested 18 of those charged yesterday. They were arraigned yesterday. They pleaded not guilty and were released on bail. Four others were expected to turn themselves in today. One of the accused, Oleg Anokhin, is reportedly at large.

Among those arrested were Aleksander "Shorty" Lipkin, Igor "Ryzkiy" Mishelevich and Alex "Lyosha" Gorvits, brokers with AGA Capital of Brooklyn, according to a story by Kati Cornell of the New York Post.

The U.S. Attorney's Office stated that employees of Northside Capital NY Inc. (later Lending Universe Corporation) of Brooklyn were also charged.

From 2004 through 2006, the mortgage agents brokered more than 1,000 home loans with a total face value of more than $200 million. Lending institutions paid the agents a percentage - between 2% and 4% - of each loan as a fee. The indictment charges that property values were often inflated to increase the amounts of the loans (with the brokers keeping the difference), while the financial qualifications of phony purchasers were enhanced to guarantee loan approval.

The loans defaulted, forcing lending institutions to foreclose.

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Editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer. Publisher of American Mafia history website Moderator of Mafia-related Google+ community and Yahoo discussion group. Author of Wrongly Executed? Coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime. Contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime. Writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.