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Mortgage

Ireland extradites fugitive to U.S. to face raft of mortgage fraud charges

Country’s first extradition to the U.S. since 2012

On Friday, Patrick Lee, a 44-year-old man with dual U.S. and Irish citizenship was arraigned in federal court in Boston on more than 50 charges relating to a mortgage fraud scheme that he allegedly perpetrated in the run-up to the housing crisis.

Lee’s alleged malfeasance took place from 2005-2007, and the charges were originally filed against Lee in 2011, but Lee has been living in Ireland since 2007.

Lee was arraigned last week after being extradited from Ireland. It was Ireland’s first extradition to the United States since 2012.

All total, Lee faces 29 counts of wire fraud, six counts of unlawful monetary transactions, and 16 counts of aggravated identity theft for his participation in the mortgage fraud scheme.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, Lee and several co-conspirators bought multi-family properties in Dorchester and South Boston between 2005 and 2007 and converted the properties into condos.

From there, Lee and others allegedly recruited and paid straw buyers to sign the purchase documents, even though the straw buyers had no intention of living in the condos in question.

Lee and others also allegedly convinced mortgage brokers to prepare false mortgage loan applications for the straw buyers.

And in a move that HousingWire’s appraiser friends were surely love, Lee allegedly pretended to be a licensed real estate appraiser, using the name and license number of an actual licensed appraiser, and prepared appraisals for the condos.

Then, Lee and his co-conspirators allegedly used the false documents to stage seemingly real closings on the properties, before sending the documents off to lenders, who unwittingly funded the loans.

The loan proceeds were paid to Lee and the other sellers, and the straw buyers never moved into the properties or paid the mortgages. Eventually, the properties went into foreclosure, and the lenders lost their money.

The indictment also charges that Lee prepared appraisals for some properties that he actually bought or sold himself, but the appraisals falsely stated that the appraiser was not Lee and was independent and not related to the seller or the buyer.

Lee faces varying lengths of prison sentences for each of the charges he is facing, stretching from as little as two years to as many as 30 years, and many different fines of up to $250,000.

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