John Siuszko Admits Role in $40.8 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme

CAMDEN, NJ—A second New Jersey man today admitted to his role in a $40.8 million mortgage fraud conspiracy, serving as a “straw buyer” to cause a lender to release almost $980,000 based on a fraudulent mortgage loan application, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

John Siuszko, 55, of Wharton, N.J., pleaded guilty to an information charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Joseph E. Irenas in Camden federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court.

Siuszko served as a straw buyer for his co-conspirators in order to purchase an oceanfront condominium overbuilt by a financially distressed developer in Wildwood Crest, N.J. Siuszko had a good credit score but lacked the financial resources to qualify for a mortgage loan to purchase the property. His co-conspirators caused a fraudulent mortgage loan application and supporting documents to be submitted to a mortgage lender in Siuszko’s name, attributing to Siuszko inflated income and assets in order to induce the mortgage lender to approve the loan. Once the loan was approved and the mortgage lender sent the loan proceeds in connection with the real estate closing on the property, Siuszko’s co-conspirators took a portion of the proceeds from the $979,664.21 fraudulent mortgage loan and paid Siuszko $40,000 for his role.

Charles Harvath, 33, of Lodi, N.J., pleaded guilty on July 19, 2011, to an Information charging him with one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Harvath and his co-conspirators located distressed properties, recruited straw buyers, and created false documents in order to inflate the straw buyer’s qualifications as part of the scheme. Sentencing for Harvath is currently scheduled for October 25, 2011.

The wire fraud conspiracy charge to which Siuszko pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. In addition, Siuszko agreed to forfeit $40,000, representing the amount of proceeds obtained as a result of the offense. He also agreed to forfeit a 2006 Kawasaki Motorcycle he purchased with the proceeds of the fraud. Sentencing for Suiszo is currently scheduled for November 4, 2011.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents from the FBI’s Atlantic City Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward; and IRS - Criminal Investigation in Mays Landing, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Victor W. Lessoff, with the ongoing investigation leading to the guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney R. Stephen Stigall of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.

Defense counsel: William G. Johnson Esq., Dover, N.J.