Upstate NY Mortgage Brokerage Accused of Refi Fraud
U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. has announced that Michael Rory Woods of Buffalo, N.Y. was charged by criminal complaint with making false statements on a loan application in order to secure a refinance mortgage. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000, or both. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen A. Lynch, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, the defendant falsely inflated the income of a borrower on a loan application submitted to JP Morgan Chase Bank. The borrower, James P. Vasiliou Jr., previously pleaded guilty to bank fraud in connection with making a false statement on a bank mortgage application. The complaint alleges that Woods, through his mortgage brokerage firm, Buffalo Equity, submitted an application for a refinance mortgage inflating Vasiliou’s income by thousands of dollars. A week later, Woods submitted another application on behalf of Vasiliou for a refinance mortgage on the same property that grossly inflated Vasiliou’s income three times as much as the income listed on the first application. The second loan was approved based on the exaggerated income of Vasiliou. As a result of the scheme, JP Morgan Chase Bank suffered a loss. The criminal complaint is the result of an investigation by the Mortgage Fraud Task Force of Western New York, led by the U.S. attorney’s office, which includes agents and personnel from the United States Secret Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Tracy Gast, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian P. Boetig.