Mortgage Fraud Ring- Branch Managers, Banker, Closing Attorney- Faces up to 30 years in prison

Mortgage and Lending with First Colorado Lending

Former Boca Raton Mortgage Managers plead guilty for falsifying loan documents

It was alleged that Peter Hartofilis and Jason Vitulano were branch managers of the Top Dot Mortgage office in Boca Raton, Florida, and devised a scheme to submit fraudulent loan applications to numerous lenders. More specifically, the loan applications contained grossly inflated statements of the applicants' earnings and assets on deposit in a local bank.

In addition, according to court documents and statements made in court, attorney Joseph Miller acted as closing agent and title agent on a number of these loan transactions. Miller agreed to divert loan proceeds to the personal accounts of Vitulano, Hartofilis and others without disclosing that fact to the mortgage lenders.

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The Real Estate & Mortgage industry needs to step up its own brand of self-enforcement. The answer is strengthening a pre-funding controls with a multi level system using the host of online tools, in-depth training on "how to read the signs" for the honest and ethical loan officers - as well as processors, underwriters, the closing departments and a host of collateral employees who likewise have their fingers on the process - on how to better detect fraudulent loan applications and real estate transactions.

While some days it may seem too big to curtail on our own, try to stop it we must. In this case, prevention begins not with millions, not with thousands, not with hundreds, but with one: one loan officer, one loan office, one mortgage company, one credit reporting agency - one person - at a time.

It is important to note that lending institutions, companies don't commit fraud - people commit fraud.

We all need the fraudsters to FEAR retribution from the ethical honest "Real Estate Industry Professionals and Homeowners".

We can prevent mortgage and real estate fraud one transaction at a time!

Michael S. Richardson

Director/Chief Quality Officer
Author of "An American Epidemic, Mortgage Fraud a Serious Business"

Follow me on Twitter @ FocusonFraud



Comments (2)

Wendy Cutrufelli
Alain Pinel Realtors - Walnut Creek, CA
Contra Costa Realtor

Michael:  "Prevent mortgage and Real Estate fraud one transaction at a time!"  Yes!  But here is the problem from my perspective.  I was a loan officer for 20 years and am now a realtor.  As a loan officer, we had a "fraud hotline" that we were required to call if we felt there were loan shenanigans.  I found it interesting though, that the hotline responded much more quickly on transaction fraud than employee fraud.  Banks are paying the price for that now.  As a Realtor, I am astonished at how many of my associates are totally unwilling to file a complaint with ethics committees - or any other reporting entity.  Why is that?  We complain about low standards but are unwilling to take personal action to raise the bar by drawing a line in the sand? 

May 30, 2010 04:35 AM
David Saks
(retired) - Memphis, TN

Fraud for profit and fraud for housing are two different cockroaches, although they both share a common denominator : they're both fraud. Seems as though fraud for profit, as this case demonstrates, is where the white collar section hides it's ugly head. Fraud for housing, the blue collar pest. More traps are laid this day and age for both vermin.

May 30, 2010 06:00 AM