Brooklyn Credit Counseling Operator Indicted For Defrauding Russian Immigrants And Spending Money On Luxury Goods

Brooklyn Credit Counseling Operator
Marat Lerner

Federal authorities have indicted Brooklyn credit counseling operator Marat Lerner. Prosecutors indicted Lerner on eight counts of fraud. They charged Lerner with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud. In addition, they also charged him with money laundering. Lerner allegedly defrauded his clients with a mortgage loan modification scheme. 

Federal prosecutors allege Lerner preyed on Russian immigrants burdened with debt in Brooklyn. Thus, stealing their American dream through a scheme built on false promises to help them keep their homes. However, he took advantage of their trust to enrich himself.

The indictment alleges that between August 2016 and January 2021, Lerner and others operated the Lerner Group.  The Lerner Group promised clients it could help them modify their mortgages with lower mortgage payments and balances. 

Lerner used his access to his clients’ banking information to create fake checks. These checks appeared to be monthly mortgage payments to an escrow agent called Testoni & Villa and to his clients’ mortgage banks. However, Lerner failed to disclose that he secretly controlled Testoni & Villa.

Instead of paying the clients mortgage, Lerner deposited the checks in an account that he controlled. He then used the money for a variety of personal expenses. He spent the money on luxury goods, dinners at high-end restaurants and a BMW automobile.  In total, Lerner misappropriated at least $550,000 from his clients. 

If you were a Lerner Group client and would like to file a complaint, please visit  Please reference “Lerner Group” or “Marat Lerner” in your complaint. 

The charges in the indictment are allegations. Therefore, Marat Lerner is presumed innocent until proven guilty.  If convicted, Lerner faces up to 20 years in prison.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Business and Securities Fraud Section. 

Read More About Alleged Mortgage Fraudsters On MFI-Miami.

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