FirstPlus CEO: The mob took over our mortgage company

Used company money to buy luxury cars and a yacht

Members of a Philadelphia mob family seized control of a Texas-based mortgage company and used its money to buy luxury cars and a yacht, according to the firm’s former CEO.

Dan Phillips, who was the CEO of FirstPlus Financial Group until 2007, testified in a Philadelphia courtroom that a group of investors, including lawyers and other individuals, made false allegations and threats in an effort to take control of the mortgage company’s board.

FirstPlus Financial was huge back in the late 90’s, becoming the industry leader in selling 125% LTV mortgages, based in Dallas. Veterans of mortgage finance will remember Phillips and his esoteric mortgages very well.

The aforementioned group of investors was reportedly working under the direction of Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., son of jailed Philadelphia mob boss Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo, and alleged mob associate Salvatore Pelullo.

Phillips, in court, said that Pelullo accused him of being “asleep at the wheel” and told him that the takeover of FirstPlus would not be happening if Phillips was on top of things.

Phillips said that he eventually talked to company board members and that they decided to give up control of the company.

On Thursday, defense attorneys questioned the stability of FirstPlus before that moment, pointing to Phillips’ affairs with coworkers as a sign of its fragility.

Mark Catanzaro, the attorney for John Maxwell, named two of the three women with whom Phillips admitted having affairs. “The third one, you can’t even remember her name, correct?” Catanzaro said.

Phillips said he could not.

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