Father & Son Swindlers Get Prison Time
The dad from Jackson and his son from Old Bridge who admitted scamming investors out of more than $1,000,000 in a sham foreclosure-rescue operation received their prison terms today.
Vito Grippo, 58, was sentenced to 10 years and ordered to pay full restitution to the victims by Union County Judge Stuard Peim. His son Frederick Grippo, 32, was handed four years and an order to pay fines totalling $24,681 by Union County Judge William Daniel, according to information from the office of acting New Jersey Attorney General John J. Hoffman.
The elder Grippo had pleaded guilty last February to a second-degree charge of theft by failure to make required disposition of property and a third-degree count of money laundering.
A month earlier, his son pleaded guilty to second-degree theft by deception.
Through an office in Holmdel, Vito Grippo had operated Morgan Financial Equity Shares, Inc.; Vanick Holdings, LLC; and Jandevar, LLC. He and his son were arrested in September 2012.
Grippo admitted pocketing $1,300,000 from 12 financially-troubled homeowners, offering to resolve foreclosure matters and repair their credit ratings by transferring the titles of their homes "temporarily" to Morgan Financial. Twelve homes were involved, in Elizabeth, Somerville, Mine Hill, Rutherford, Monroe, Staten Island, Brooklyn and Cambria Heights, New York.
Investigators learned that Grippo guaranteed them retention of 80 to 90 percent of their houses, instructing them to issue monthly payments to Morgan Financial which would be forwarded to a lender, and assuring them that they would regain their titles within a year. Victims later got letters informing them that their mortgage payments had escalated severely.
Grippo also admitted soliciting investors who thought that they were buying into revenue-generating rentals through Morgan Financial. Investigators say they didn't know that they were actually buying the homes of financially-strapped people. Grippo said he used investors' identities to file false mortgage applications to buy the houses. The amount he applied to obtain was in excess of $4,500,000.
Frederick Grippo, acting as the loan broker, admitted that he submitted the bogus applications for approvals, along with doctored W-2 forms and bank statements, and asserted that the homes would be primary residences for the investors. Troubled homeowners and eager investors signed documents with no time to determine what they were signing.
The $1,300,000 that Grippo admitted taking were loan funds intended for the original homeowners as equity at closing. Investigators found that he placed the money into bank accounts he controlled, then divided it with his son and other conspirators.
Authorities say all the homes ended up in foreclosure, the original owners lost their properties and the investors' credit ratings were destroyed.