Thirteen Indicted in Broward Mortgage Investment Scheme

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Amos Rojas, Special Agent in Charge, Florida Department of Law Enforcement; John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office; Henry Gutierrez, Postal Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and J. Thomas Cardwell, Commissioner, State of Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation, announced today that an Indictment was unsealed at the Fort Lauderdale Federal Courthouse against:

* Joseph Guaracino, 32, Plantation, Florida
* Steven Stoll, 43, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
* Stephen Orchard, 34, Boca Raton, Florida
* Matthew Gulla, 35, Davie, Florida
* Rene Rodriguez, Jr., 37, Plantation, Florida
* Dennis Guaracino, Jr., 34, Plantation, Florida
* Jacqueline Trumbore, 39, Margate, Florida
* John Velez, 37, Plantation, Florida
* Daryl Radziwon, 39, Plantation, Florida
* Casey Mittauer, 37, Cooper City, Florida
* Joseph DeRosa, 35, Coral Springs, Florida
* Robert DePriest, 41, Plantation, Florida
* Joseph LaGrasta, 31, Tamarac, Florida

The Indictment charges the defendants with one count of conspiracy, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349; 11 counts of mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341; 13 counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343; and eight counts of making a false statement to a government agency, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001. Two defendants are charged with obstructing justice, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1512. Not all defendants are charged in all counts. The conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, and obstruction of justice counts each carry a maximum penalty of up to 20 years’ imprisonment. The false statement counts each carry a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment.

According to the Indictment, the defendants engaged in a scheme to enrich themselves by fraudulently causing real property in Broward and Palm Beach Counties to be bought and sold by submitting, and causing to be submitted, false and fraudulent documents to mortgage lenders in order to obtain the loans. The title attorneys falsely represented to the mortgage lenders the source of the deposits/down payments and/or the cash from borrowers needed to close the transactions. The total dollar amount of the loans secured under the scheme was in excess of $16,000,000 dollars.

More specifically, at times relevant to the Indictment, Joseph Guaracino would locate properties to be purchased and negotiated sale contracts along with co-defendants. In order to qualify for mortgage loans, Guaracino and others caused false information to be submitted to lenders, including forged lease agreements, false bank account balances, and inflated income or salary levels. Dennis Guaracino, Jr., Jacqueline Trumbore, John Velez, Daryl Radziwon, Casey Mittauer, Joseph DeRosa, Robert DePriest, and Joseph Lagrasta were investors in the fraudulent real estate investment scheme, who along with others, purchased the properties that Guaracino controlled.

Steven Stoll, a licensed mortgage broker and a licensed attorney, and Stephen Orchard, also a licensed attorney, participated in the scheme by handling the closings of the fraudulently procured loans, along with licensed mortgage brokers Matthew Gulla and Rene Rodriguez, Jr.

U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer stated, “This indictment charges a group of individuals who conspired to enrich themselves by committing mortgage fraud. It includes a number of professionals who betrayed their profession for greed, and in the process, undermined the integrity of the mortgage marketplace on which we all rely. Our office is determined to continue to bring to justice those who engage in such pervasive criminal schemes.”

Special Agent in Charge John V. Gillies of the FBI Miami Division stated, "The FBI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate allegations of fraud."

“Once again, a complex mortgage fraud scheme in South Florida has resulted in additional arrests on serious charges,” said Amos Rojas, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Miami Regional Operations Center. “Those accused of mortgage fraud—no matter what their role—have left a path of destruction with far too many victims in South Florida, and we will continue to aggressively target, arrest and prosecute those involved in this crime. Justice will be served.”

Commissioner Tom Cardwell of the Florida Office of Financial Regulation stated, "This is an example of how unlawful practices have blemished the mortgage industry and caused damage to Florida's economy. The Office of Financial Regulation is implementing new rules and regulations regarding qualifications and enforcement that we believe will help protect consumers and create a more sound and stable industry for the benefit of our citizens and economy."

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigators for their hard work and dedication in this long term investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and State of Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Laurie E. Rucoba, Jeffrey Kay and Michael Patrick Sullivan.

An Indictment is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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