A New Jersey man stands accused of using his position as a loan officer to facilitate fraudulent mortgages.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, Richard Patino is charged with one count of wire fraud.
Court documents allege that Patino worked as a loan officer at an unnamed bank, and helped some number of individuals commit mortgage fraud.
The criminal complaint lays out exactly what Patino is accused of:
From in or about August 2013 to in or about July 2014, in the District of New Jersey and elsewhere, defendant Richard Patino did knowingly and intentionally devise and in tend to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud his employer, a financial institution, and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, and to obtain· money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, and, for the purpose of executing and attempting to execute such scheme and artifice to defraud, did transmit and cause to be transmitted by means of wire communications in interstate and foreign commerce, certain writings, signs, signals, pictures, and sounds, including a wire transfers from New Jersey to outside of New Jersey.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in one case, Patino approved a loan application in 2013 for an unnamed borrower, but the bank documents that were included in the loan application were actually Patino’s, altered to make it seem like they belonged to someone else.
Patino’s mortgage company then approved the application and issued the loan to the unnamed individual. The loan was later sold to another financial institution, which was provided with both the loan application and supporting documents, including the fraudulent statements Patino created.
The Federal Housing Administration guaranteed the loan based in part on those phony documents, the U.S. Attorney’s Office stated.
According to court documents, as of January 2018, that individual has stopped paying on the loan and the financial institution has begun foreclosure proceedings on the property.
Overall, law enforcement is aware of approximately 23 loans that Patino approved that are suspected of fraudulent activity.
Again from the criminal complaint:
Law enforcement has interviewed more than ten of the purchases of these properties who have stated, in substance and in part, that either: (a) documents submitted as part of the loan application were fraudulent; or (b) they were given money by a third party to use as a down payment or at closing and this provision of funds was not reflected on the HUD-1.
Patino faces a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.