Freehold Executive Admits Role in $30M Mortgage Scam
The Freehold based part-owner of a lending service awaits sentencing after admitting his role in a mortgage-fraud scam that federal prosecutors say caused losses of more than $30,000,000.
Lester Soto, 57, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, according to information from the office of New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman. He faces as many as 30 years in prison and fines as high as $1,000,000 when he's sentenced next Feburary.
Prosecutors say that through Premier Mortgage Services, Soto and others targeted low-income properties, recruited straw buyers, and submitted documents that grossly inflated their earnings and assets to lenders.
Soto and PMS loan officers Isaac DePaula, Adilson Silva, and Klary Arcentales are identified as active in enlisting straw buyers. Prosecutors say they divided the money from approved loans and hid the trail through fabricated settlement statements. Properties entered foreclosure when the straw buyers defaulted.
Authorities say Soto also acted as a loan officer on some accounts, aligned PMS mortgage brokers with people assigned to create the false documents, and instructed them to refer files with information appearing suspicious to his supervision for submission.
Rodrigo Costa is identified in Fishman's statement as the creator of bogus forms including verifications of deposit and verifications of rent, in return for part of the mortgage proceeds.
New Jersey-licensed attorney Michael Rumore is identified as the facilitator by convening closings, accepting funds from lenders, and preparing the false settlement statements, in exchange for a fee from each transacted loan.
Properties built by Kelmar Construction Company, owned by Antonio Pimenta, were sold to straw buyers with fraudulent loans brokered by Arcentales, say authorities.