Regina DaSilva Misled State Governmental Offices and a Bank to Obtain More Than $22 Million in Mortgage Loans

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of REGINA DASILVA, 41, for filing petitions containing false information with two New York State governmental offices and with Signature Bank in an effort to obtain more than $22 million in mortgage loans on behalf of her employer, the Universal Church. DASILVA has been charged in a 36-count indictment with Grand Larceny, Offering a False Instrument for Filing, Making an Apparently Sworn False Statement, and Scheme to Defraud.[1]

“Fraud is always wrong, but it is especially egregious when criminals misuse religious organizations, courts, and state agencies in their schemes,” said District Attorney Vance. “This defendant not only misled the faithful, but she also undermined the integrity of our judicial system by filing false statements and petitions with New York State Supreme Court judges and the State Attorney General’s Office.”

According to documents filed in court, the crimes span from March 2006 through October 2008. As the treasurer for the Universal Church, a New York nonprofit religious corporation with churches across the United States, DASILVA falsely claimed in six notarized petitions that she scheduled and held meetings at two Universal Churches in Brooklyn and Queens, where parishioners voted to approve mortgages of the property given by Signature Bank. In reality, the meetings never occurred and the parishioners did not approve the mortgages of these church locations. DASILVA then submitted these documents to the Charities Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office. The Charities Bureau reviewed and, in the ordinary course of business, forwarded the paperwork to the New York State Supreme Court. Relying on the false petitions, judges issued orders authorizing the mortgage loans that DASILVA then submitted to Signature Bank. In total, DASILVA obtained for her employer 11 mortgage loans totaling $22,107,044.

District Attorney Vance thanked Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Lenzner; Assistant District Attorney Sarah Sacks; Assistant District Attorney Polly Greenberg, Deputy Bureau Chief; and Assistant District Attorney Gary Fishman, Principal Deputy Bureau Chief, Major Economic Crimes Bureau, who are handling the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Richard Weber, Bureau Chief, Major Economic Crimes Bureau and Executive Assistant District Attorney Adam Kaufmann, Chief of the Investigation Division. Paralegals Jake Lieberman and Mark Gaioni assisted in the investigation. Investigators Jack Patterson and Alex Arenas also assisted in the investigation under the supervision of the District Attorney’s Investigation Acting Chief Walter Alexander.

District Attorney Vance also thanked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, specifically Special Agent Kelly Polson, acting under the supervision of Peter T. Edge, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations, New Jersey.

Defendant information:

Union, N.J.


* Grand Larceny in the First Degree, class B felony, 11 counts
* Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, class E felony, 12 counts
* Making an Apparently Sworn False Statement in the First Degree, class E felony, 12 counts
* Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, class E felony, 1 count

A class B felony is punishable by up to 25 years in prison and a Class E felony is punishable by up to 4 years in prison.
[1] The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


  1. To NYPB
    CC: New York County DA's office
    Subject : Regina DaSilva

    I am a personnal friend of the DaSilva family for many many years.

    I am also the auditor for the Universal Church, Inc., a non-for-profit 501(c)(3) IRS church.

    Your last statement" innocent until proven guilty" should be reiterated.

    The news account and charges that suggests that Regina took moneys from $22 mil. Signature loans and misappropreated the moneys;

    "I can state, that the proceeds went to expand the worshipers' number of churches, through the United States of America in accordance with the Church's Mission."

    I have contacted the Attorney General's office in Albany. I spoke to the Charities section and they inform me that he Universal Church, Inc. was exempt from any filing requirements since its was as still is a church according to the IRS. I am not an attorney!

    The DaSilva family need our prayes. I have observed the whole family, Regina, her husband, her mother when she was alive, her three children at pray through out the counrty in many churches.

    Please use you blog to help Regina get a fair and swift trial. I believe in my heart she will proven in a court of law "not-guilty" by her peers.Regina , to the best of my knowledge, has always consulted her outside lawyers on any legal issues. She,to the best of my knowledge, has complied with her lawyer's advise.

    Frank, CPA 14 years educated by Roman Catholic entities and personal friend of the DeSilva Family.


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