Today, three (3) individuals were charged with conspiracy, money laundering, and theft by deception after police uncovered a fraudulent mortgage scheme to effectively steal nearly $900,000.00.
The conspiracy allegedly involved 49-year-old Stephanie Hand, a Livingston NJ resident with a law practice in Newark, New Jersey. Also allegedly involved in the conspiracy were 48-year-old Passiac resident Julio Concepcion and 38-year-old Saddle Brook resident Thomas D’Anna.
According to the State Attorney General’s Office, the three (3) suspects devised a plan that utilized stolen identities of Puerto Rican residents to apply for fraudulent home mortgages for properties in Newark and Garfield. Mr. D’Anna was the supposed seller of the properties. However, authorities say that there was actually no buyer; simply a fraudulent identity employed as a mechanism to complete the home mortgage applications.
According to prosecutors, the perpetrators of the scheme were initially successful in securing loans from an unidentified source: a $415,865.00 loan for the property in Garfield and a $457,655.00 loan for the property in Newark. In order to facilitate the sales, Ms. Hand allegedly acted as the officiating lawyer, vouching for the payments made by the buyers and supposedly ensuring the proper distribution of the loans. Prosecutors believe that Mr. D’Anna made at least $100,000.00 in profits after paying off three (3) mortgages, while Mr. Concepcion’s company received upwards of $150,000.00.
A state grand jury in Mercer County supplied the indictment for the crimes. If the defendants are convicted, they will be subject to significant punishments. For example, the suspects have each been charged with theft by deception, which is governed under N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4. Under this statute, theft by deception constitutes a crime of the second degree if the amount in question is $75,000.00 or more. In New Jersey, second degree crimes are punishable by as many as ten (10) years in New Jersey State Prison.
For more information pertaining to this case, access the NJ.com article entitled “Newark Lawyer, Two Others Indicted for Stealing $873K in Alleged Mortgage Scheme.”