United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade has announced that Giuseppe Cracchiolo of Romeo, Mich. has been sentenced for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme to six months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. McQuade was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Erick Martinez, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division; Andrew Arena, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Detroit; Robert L. Davila, Special Agent in Charge U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration; and Dean Tirro, Acting Special Agent in Charge United States Secret Service, Detroit.
According to court records, from 2002-2005, Atiim Collins of Detroit, owner of Edgewood Property Management in Shelby Township, Mich., recruited and paid individuals to act as straw buyers in fraudulent mortgage loan transactions. The scheme to defraud involved homes built by Cracchiolo, through his company, Mark Christian Inc. (MCI), in Romeo, Mich. The straw buyers generally had good credit ratings, but not enough income, and lacked the qualifications necessary to purchase the properties. Ted Carter of Detroit participated in the conspiracy by creating false documents, including fictitious W-2 forms and pay stubs. These false documents were used by the straw buyers to support the fraudulently inflated asset and income information submitted on their mortgage loan applications. After the loans were approved by the lending companies, Cracchiolo used MCI to receive and disburse the illegally gained proceeds. This scheme to defraud resulted in the approval and disbursement of over $4.1 million in fraudulent mortgage loans.
Cracchiolo admitted that, during the conspiracy, he arranged to have the illegally obtained loan proceeds transferred back to borrowers and others without the knowledge and approval of the lending companies. All of the properties involved in the fraud went into foreclosure resulting in approximately $2.5 million in losses to the lenders.
"We are all victims in a case like this because fraudulent loans lead to foreclosures and vacant homes, which lower property values and become havens for criminal activity," McQuade said.
On Dec. 3, 2010, Carter was sentenced to one year and a day imprisonment, followed by two years’ supervised release. On Dec. 6, 2010, Collins was sentenced to five years’ probation, with one year to be served at a residential re-entry center, and six months' home confinement. They must also pay restitution, joint and several, with Cracchiolo.
United States District Judge George Caram Steeh also ordered Cracchiolo to serve an additional six months' home confinement and pay restitution of $1,654,500 to numerous financial institutions. In September 2010, Cracchiolo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
For more information, visit http://detroit.fbi.gov.