DOJ charges one of America’s top LOs in alleged mortgage fraud scheme

Christopher Gallo was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud

Two former New Jersey-based mortgage loan originators have been charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey according to an announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger.

Christopher Gallo has been recognized as a top-producing loan originator, at one point being named Scotsman Guide‘s fourth-ranked LO in America. Gallo previously shared perspectives with HousingWire on his business strategy for 2023 after enduring challenges in 2022. At the time, Gallo was employed by NJ Lenders Corp, which primarily operates in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

Alongside Gallo, Mehmet Elmas was also named in the complaint, filed by a special agent working under the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). The complaint says that Gallo and Elmas were employed by the same company at the time of the alleged offense, with Elmas working as Gallo’s assistant.

Gallo and Elmas have each been released on a $200,000 bond after appearing before a magistrate judge in Newark federal court, the DOJ said.

“From 2018 through October 2023, Gallo and Elmas used their positions to conspire and engage in a fraudulent scheme to falsify loan origination documents sent to mortgage lenders in New Jersey and elsewhere, including their former employer, to fraudulently obtain mortgage loans,” the DOJ alleges.

The pair allegedly “routinely mislead mortgage lenders about the intended use of properties to fraudulently secure lower mortgage interest rates,” adding they “often submitted loan applications falsely stating that the listed borrowers were the primary residents of certain proprieties when, in fact, those properties were intended to be used as rental or investment properties,” the complaint alleges.

The alleged scheme misled lenders about the “true intended use of the properties,” and “Gallo and Elmas secured and profited from mortgage loans that were approved at lower interest rates,” the DOJ claimed.

The alleged conspiracy also included falsifying property records, including “building safety and financial information of prospective borrowers to facilitate mortgage loan approval,” the DOJ alleged.

In a statement, NJ Lenders Corp told HousingWire that it is cooperating with law enforcement as the investigation progresses.

“NJ Lenders is proud of its 33 years of successfully assisting homeowners with integrity and professionalism. We are fully cooperating with law enforcement and the ongoing investigation of two former employees,” said Mark Tabakin, an attorney for NJ Lenders.

“The actions of these former employees appear to have been coordinated to benefit them financially while taking advantage of the reputation and trust of the firm,” he continued. “NJ Lenders’ work will continue uninterrupted as we provide the highest level of service to our clients.”

Gallo originated more than $1.4 billion in loans between 2018 and October 2023, according to the DOJ. When listed as the fourth top-producing LO in 2022 by Scotsman Guide, the publication placed his total volume at $1.175 billion for that year alone. One-third of his loans were purchases, with the remainder being refinances.

“The conspiracy to commit bank fraud charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest,” DOJ said.

Gallo began originating mortgages at CrossCountry Mortgage in fall 2023, according to NMLS licensing information. His webpage at CCM was taken down on Wednesday, and a spokesperson for the Cleveland-based retail lender did not immediately return a request for comment.

This story has been updated with a statement from NJ Lenders Corp.


  1. I don’t know either of the defendants, but I would bet that this started of with just “little white lies” or seemingly insignificant errors of omission and snowballed from there. Falsifying or omitting any known information on a loan application is a felony and this serves as a great reminder. I know times are tough, loans are hard to come by and when you do find one there are usually multiple originators competing for that business. That said, while I do look good in orange, I don’t want to wear it from head to toe all day every day!!!

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