Thirteen indicted in $16 million Florida mortgage investment scheme
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 (FBI), 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 that an indictment was unsealed at the Fort Lauderdale Federal Courthouse against Joseph Guaracino of Plantation, Fla.; Steven Stoll of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Stephen Orchard of Boca Raton, Fla.; Matthew Gulla of Davie, Fla.; Rene Rodriguez Jr. of Plantation, Fla.; Dennis Guaracino Jr. of Plantation, Fla.; Jacqueline Trumbore of Margate, Fla.; John Velez of Plantation, Fla.; Daryl Radziwon of Plantation, Fla.; Casey Mittauer of Cooper City, Fla.; Joseph DeRosa of Coral Springs, Fla.; Robert DePriest of Plantation, Fla.; and Joseph LaGrasta of Tamarac, Fla. The indictment charges the defendants with one count of conspiracy, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349; 11 counts of mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341; 13 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 20 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/downpayments 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 million dollars. "This is an example of how unlawful practices have blemished the mortgage industry and caused damage to Florida's economy," said Commissioner Tom Cardwell of the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. "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." 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. “This indictment charges a group of individuals who conspired to enrich themselves by committing mortgage fraud," said U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer. "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.” “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.” For more information, visit www.usdoj.gov.