Manhattan U.S. Attorney charges two lawyers in $3.9 million fraud scheme – NMP Skip to main content

Manhattan U.S. Attorney charges two lawyers in $3.9 million fraud scheme
Dec 18, 2009

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, has announced the filing of a five-count Indictment charging two attorneys, Dustin Dente and Brandon Lisi, with a scheme to defraud various lending institutions by using straw buyers to obtain over $3.9 million in home mortgage loans that they then stole for their personal use. Both defendants were previously charged in a criminal complaint and arrested on Oct. 15, 2009. As alleged in the Indictment filed in Manhattan federal court and the previously filed criminal complaint: From 2006 through March 2009, Dente and Lisi used straw buyers to obtain fraudulent home mortgage loans with respect to at least five properties. In order to induce lenders to approve loans that they otherwise would not have approved, Dente and Lisi prepared and submitted on behalf of straw buyers loan applications that contained false or misleading information. In many instances Dente and Lisi fraudulently improved the straw buyers' creditworthiness by falsifying material personal and financial information about the straw buyers, including the straw buyers' employment, income, assets, and existing debt. The defendants also lied about the straw buyers' intention to live in the properties. Dente and Lisi also acted as closing attorneys and/or the attorney for one of the parties on most of the fraudulent loan transactions. As a result, once the home mortgage loans were approved by the lenders based on the defendants' fraudulent misrepresentations, the defendants controlled, or were otherwise able to direct, the disbursement of the home mortgage loan proceeds. For several of those fraudulently-obtained home mortgage loans, the defendants simply stole all or part of the loan proceeds for their own profit, and did not repay the prior mortgage loans on the properties. In other cases, the defendants obtained mortgage loans in amounts greater than the actual purchase prices for the properties and then kept or misappropriated for personal use a portion of the funds provided by the mortgage lenders. The indictment charges each defendant with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, three counts of bank fraud, and one count of wire fraud. If convicted on these charges, Dente and Lisi each face a maximum sentence of 150 years’ imprisonment on all of the charges, and a maximum fine of $1 million or twice the gross pecuniary loss or gain derived from the offense, on each count of conviction. Dente, 38, resides in West Islip, N.Y. Lisi, 36, resides in Glen Cove, N.Y. This case was part of the coordinated takedown of "Operation Bad Deeds," a joint federal, state, and local law enforcement operation targeting mortgage fraud crimes, announced on Oct. 15, 2009, in which 41 defendants were charged in various mortgage fraud scams in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and North Carolina. The case is assigned to United States District Judge Laura Taylor Swain.  This case is being prosecuted by the Office's Complex Frauds Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Seetha Ramachandran and Michael D. Lockard are in charge of the prosecution. The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  For more information, visit
Dec 18, 2009
MISMO Seeks Public Comment On 3 eMortgage Resources

Updates proposed to MISMO Business Glossary, eMortgage Glossary, and eModification Reference Flyer.

Regulation and Compliance
Aug 05, 2022
As Expected, The Fed Raises Rate By Another 0.75%

Experts say housing industry will shrug off the latest increase.

Regulation and Compliance
Jul 27, 2022
AmTrust Ends 'No-Poach' Agreement, Pays $1.25M Fine In Deal With N.Y. AG

Company also agrees to cooperate with ongoing investigations of the title insurance industry.

Regulation and Compliance
Jul 25, 2022
NAR Chief Economist: Nationwide Home Price Decline Won't Happen Soon

Lack of inventory continues to support growth in prices, which have increased year over year for 124 straight months.

Regulation and Compliance
Jul 22, 2022
FHFA Director: Fannie, Freddie Need $300B Combined In Capital

So far, the enterprises combined have built $83.5 billion in reserves, or about 27% of the target.

Regulation and Compliance
Jul 21, 2022
Expansion Of Community Reinvestment Act A Poor Fit For A Non-Problem

Equating non-bank mortgage companies to banks is misguided for several reasons.

Analysis and Data
Jul 20, 2022