Reality TV Stars Indicted

Federal criminal lawyer discusses indictment for two Real Housewives of New Jersey stars.  Most are familiar with the Bravo television series “The Real Housewives.”  This week, two of the stars from the New Jersey Housewives show, Joe and Teresa Giudice, have been indicted on federal charges.  The charges in the indictment include bank fraud, bankruptcy fraud, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and making false statements on their loan applications.  Joe has also been charged with failing to file tax returns from 2004 through 2008–during those years it is alleged that Joe earned close to $1 million.

An IRS special agent involved in the criminal investigation stated that “the Giudice’s did not live up to their responsibilities by failing to file tax returns, falsifying loan applications and concealing assets in their bankruptcy petition. The reality is that this type of criminal conduct will not go undetected and individuals who engage in this type of financial fraud should know they will be held accountable.”

Not only this, but In 2009, the couple filed a petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Following that filing, they began to file several amendments to their bankruptcy petition.  Their bankruptcy filings required them to disclose all assets, liabilities, income and things of that nature.  The criminal investigation revealed that, during that time, the Giudice’s concealed their anticipated increase in income from the then-upcoming season 2 of the Bravo television show. Concealing their income and making false  declarations about the assets and income during their bankruptcy case is another huge issue in this case.

Now that the pair has made an appearance before a judge to hear their charges, the television network who “employed” them may come under fire.  There is a chance that employees used for filming the Bravo TV show could be called as witnesses to confirm or deny that the Giudice’s made large purchases with cash during their bankruptcy.  Bravo network may also be called to confirm or deny that Teresa’s anticipated income was left undisclosed in the bankruptcy action.  According to a legal expert, it is very serious that Bravo filmed the couple speaking to their bankruptcy attorney.  The expert feels that raw footage that did not make the air could be incriminating.  The question on unintentional conspiracy may also come up because of the filming.  Investigators will need to find out who knows what and how much they know.  It is not clear whether Bravo will actually be charged, but it is becoming clearer that the Giudice’s may need to be released from the show.

It is unclear how the couple managed to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy while they were living in a mansion and appeared to have a highly lavish lifestyle.  They filed for bankruptcy between Season 1 and 2 of the show, but no one noticed Teresa cutting back on her shopping sprees.

Of the most serious charges they face, bank fraud and loan application fraud, they could face up to 30 years in prison and be fined $1 million.  Both Teresa and Joe have retained federal criminal lawyers to help them handle this matter.

Having the support of a skilled federal criminal lawyer is beneficial because it can provide security that you are dealing with someone who has the legal knowledge and experience necessary to ensure the best chance of having your case defended properly, especially at the trial level.  Call a federal criminal lawyer to schedule your free consultation.

Mortgage Fraud Indictment with Wire Fraud Element in South Carolina

Criminal defense attorneys to discuss mortgage and wire fraud.  Another indictment out of the Florence division of the United States attorney’s office has nabbed Michael Wimberly. He is out of California and apparently has not been detained by federal officials as yet. Usually in cases dealing with fraud the FBI will try to contact the suspect prior to the indictment in an effort to get the suspect to give a statement. This helps to seal the fate of a investigative target by eliminating possible defense to the federal indictment. It is always best to speak to a federal defense attorney prior to speaking with law enforcement. In this case the allegations appear to be based on Wimberly trying to have property purchased by straw buyers and taking a kick back from the sale of the properties. As I have said many times, there is no fraud until the bank does not get their check. It appears that Kenneth Holmes and the victims (Rileys: not from the Myrtle Beach Area) were the key pieces of information that were used to indict Wimberly in Florence.

Many of the mortgage fraud defendants in Florence have received very light sentences based on their cooperation with law enforcement. This is typical of the federal government. Deals are reached early on in federal fraud cases in order to prevent the government from having to prove their case and the defendant is given an opportunity for either no jail time or less than a year in many cases. Under the federal sentencing guidelines a loss amount of more than $120,000.00 almost always guarantees a prison term. In the case of Holmes, the government would have asked the Judge to reduce his guideline range in order for him to get such a low sentence. This reduction is referred to as a 5k1.1 motion by the government.

Wimberly will be given this same opportunity to tell the government what he knows in relation to other potential individuals involved in the real estate transactions. What has yet to occur is the indictment of any lawyers or large bank officials who were surely involved at some level with these massive number of fraudulent loans. There is one thing the government has missed in all these indictments and that is the collusion of the banks in all the alleged fraud. The banks never lost a dime. The banks, as usual, get a free pass for their conduct and they want to blame the little guy whose information the bank never checked prior to issuing a loan.
Now on to the alleged victims. It seems that many of the people caught in these fraud schemes were actually try to quick money or where completely naive to the requirements to purchase real estate. No good Myrtle Beach criminal defense attorneys would allow clients to participate in these type of deals without warning of the possible danger.

Our criminal defense attorneys in Myrtle Beach are able to assist with defending any federal indictment.

$40.8 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme

Federal criminal lawyers discussion about mortgage fraud scheme.  A fifth New Jersey man today admitted that he played a role in a $40.8 million mortgage fraud conspiracy by recruiting “straw buyers” to purchase real estate properties in New Jersey, South Carolina, and Georgia which caused lenders to release more than $18 million based on fraudulent mortgage loan applications. 60-year-old William Brown from Newark, New Jersey pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

According to documents filed and statements made in court, “Brown recruited “straw buyers” for his co-conspirators to purchase oceanfront condominiums overbuilt by financially distressed developers in Wildwood Crest, N.J., premier real estate in vacation destinations in Georgia and South Carolina, and properties in New Jersey owned by financially distressed homeowners facing foreclosure.”

Brown’s co-conspirators completed fraudulent loan applications listing inflated incomes and assets and allowed them to be submitted to mortgage lenders in the straw buyers’ names. Once the loans were approved and the mortgage lenders sent the loan proceeds in connection with the real estate closings on the properties, Brown’s co-conspirators took a portion of the proceeds from the fraudulent mortgage loans. Brown also admitted that he and his co-conspirators laundered the proceeds of the mortgage fraud by having some of those proceeds transferred to the recruiters and straw buyers. Brown received $96,000 for his role in the mortgage fraud scheme.

The wire fraud conspiracy charge that Brown pleaded guilty to has a potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The money laundering conspiracy charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In addition, Brown agreed to forfeit $96,000, representing the amount of proceeds obtained as a result of the offense. Sentencing for Brown is currently scheduled for July 19, 2012.

If you or someone you know has been charged with fraud, you will need to speak with a good fraud lawyer in your area. The federal criminal lawyers in Myrtle Beach at The Mace Firm are ready to speak with you about your case. Call one of the Myrtle Beach attorneys to schedule your free consultation.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a federal crime please call one of our federal criminal lawyers. Our federal criminal lawyers are here to help you and your family in your time of need. Please call The Mace Firm to schedule a free consultation with a Myrtle Beach fraud lawyer.

Citi Admits Mortgage Fraud

Federal criminal lawyers discuss mortgage fraud.  Citigroup Inc. is paying $158 mllion as a settlement for accusations that the company took advantage of a federal mortgage insurance program. Citi has admitted that it gave incorrect information about the quality of the company’s mortgages to a federal insurance program which is run by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In this case, the government provided funds for the mortgages which resulted in the loss of millions when borrowers defaulted.

The complaint was filed last week as a part of the settlement. The complaint stated that CitiMortgage violated the rules of the Federal Housing Administration insurance program for at least 6 years. The complaint also said that Citi systematically ignored these rules, leading the government to insure lower-quality loans. Worse than that, employees in Citi’s mortgage unit are accused of asking members of the compliance department to not report problems with the mortgages to the government. “For far too long, lenders treated HUD’s insurance of their mortgages like they were playing with house money,” U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara said in a statement.

The government insurance allowed Citi to give cheap loans to higher-risk borrowers and then sell the loans to investors. The complaint filed in this action gives another look at how the nation’s biggest banks helped inflate the mortgage bubble by lying to government authorities. Citigroup made a statement saying it was happy to have settled the FHA fraud case. The also stated they have set aside provisions in the fourth quarter to cover legal costs resulting from this action. Citigroup also said it would continue making FHA-insured loans “with the full support of HUD. We are committed to continuing to work with HUD to make mortgage loans available to low- and moderate-income borrowers through the FHA program.”

The biggest of these mortgage fraud cases to date involved Bank of America and Countrywide Financial. The companies decided on a $1 billion settlement of claims that Countrywide defrauded the FHA by purposely writing loans for unqualified buyers in addition to basing loans on inflated appraisals.

Most of the fraudulent mortgages closed during the height of the real estate bubble, the financial crimes division said, 81% of the reports involved suspicious activities before 2008 and 63% described what appeared to be fraud occurring four or more years ago. Charts from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network show that California had more reports of mortgage fraud on a per-capita basis than any other state, followed by Florida and Nevada. Six of the top 10 metropolitan-area hotbeds of mortgage fraud were in the Golden State.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a federal crime please call one of our fraud attorney. Our federal criminal lawyers are here to help you and your family in your time of need. Please call The Mace Firm to schedule a free consultation with a Myrtle Beach mortgage fraud lawyer.