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Seventh Person in Ohio Mortgage Fraud Conspiracy Pleads Guilty

NationalMortgageProfessional.com
Jan 13, 2011

The last of six family members charged with operating a mortgage fraud conspiracy between 2004-2009 pled guilty in United States District Court. One of their employees has also pled guilty to participating in the conspiracy. Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Keith L. Bennett, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, and Dugan T. Wong, Assistant Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, announced the pleas today. All defendants entered their pleas before Chief U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott. Salvatore Sferrazza of West Chester, Ohio has pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment, and one count of money laundering, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Keiron Ashurst of Fairfield, Ohio pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Ashurst is a citizen of Great Britain and may face immigration consequences. On Jan. 5, 2010, Heather Ashurst of West Chester, Ohio pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. On Jan. 4, 2010, Debbie Sferrazza of West Chester, Ohio pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, one count of money laundering, and three counts of filing false income tax returns. Conspiracy is punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Money laundering is punishable by up to 10 years, and each of the tax charges is punishable by up to three years in prison. Debbie Sferrazza is a citizen of Great Britain, so she may face deportation. She is the wife of Salvatore Sferrazza and the sister of Keiron Ashurst. James Ashurst of West Chester, Ohio pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment, and one count of money laundering, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. He is the husband of Heather Ashurst and a son of Debbie Sferrazza. Whitney Bonapfel of Cincinnati, Ohio Debbie Sferrazza’s daughter, pled guilty to one count of making a false statement or report to the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) (a misdemeanor offense). She faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison, a fine of up to $100,000, and one year of supervised release. On May 25, 2010, Tabatha Sturgill of Hamilton, Ohio who was employed by Debbie Sferrazza, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and one count of filing a false income tax return, which is punishable by up to three years in prison. According to court documents, the conspirators prepared false loan applications and used fraudulent supporting documents to acquire loans in connection with 14 real estate transactions involving eight residential properties. The pleas also require the defendants to make restitution to the lenders involved and to the IRS. For more information, visit http://cincinnati.fbi.gov.
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