Former Newspaper Publisher, Mortgage Lender, and Real Estate Agent Convicted in $20 Million Florida Mortgage Fraud Scheme
A federal jury convicted a four people in a $20 million Florida mortgage fraud scheme. The four people included a former Miami newspaper publisher and mortgage lender. The Florida mortgage fraud scheme also included a mortgage broker and real estate agent.
Former Newspaper Publisher Marco Laureti
At trial, Laureti was convicted of eight counts involving wire fraud.
Laureti’s has scheduled sentencing hearing for January 25, 2018. Laureti faces up to thirty years’ imprisonment on each count. He also faces a $250,000 fine as to each count and restitution.
Laureti was a former newspaper publisher and owner of Laureti Publishing Company. He also owned multiple companies involved in real estate and lending.
The Florida mortgage fraud scheme also included Felix Mostelac, Michelle Cabrera, and Pedro Melian.
Cabrera and Melian previously pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud as part of the Florida mortgage fraud scheme. The pair have a scheduled sentencing hearing on November 17, 2017.
Mostelac is a fugitive at large.
Damning Evidence Shows How The Florida Mortgage Fraud Scheme Operated
Evidence showed Mostelac was Laureti’s associate and also the owner of several companies. Cabrera owned Florida Elite Title & Escrow and served as the closing agent for these transactions. Melian also owned several companies, including Melian’s Investment Group.
Federal prosecutors presented evidence that the defendants engaged in a fraud scheme involving a condominium complex located in Fort Lauderdale.
The four defendants made false and fraudulent statements to a financial institution on mortgage loan applications. This including grossly inflating income and bank account balances.
They also made fraudulent representations on the closing statements for these multi-million dollar condominiums.
Cabrera was instructed by Laureti to divert the loan proceeds used to fund the cash the borrower was expected to bring to the property’s closing.
Evidence also showed Cabrera diverted additional monies from the loan proceeds to various companies owned by Laureti and Mostelac.
Cabrera received $10,000 for each fraudulent transaction.
Furthermore, Laureti and Mostelac utilized the same scheme to purchase their own multi-million dollar residential properties in Miami Beach. including Laureti’s $6.9 million home and Mostelac’s $6.5 million dollar condominium.
The defendants’ scheme defrauded the financial institution of approximately $20 million in disbursed mortgage loans.