Shore Father, Son Charged In Foreclosure Home Investment Probe
A shore father and son are accused of trying to steal about $4,500,000 from mortgage lenders in a scheme that investigators say also victimized families facing foreclosure for about $1,300,000 in home equity.
Vito Grippo, 57, of Jackson, and his son Frederick P. Grippo, 32, of Old Bridge, were charged with second degree theft by deception and conspiracy by the office of New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa.
Vito Grippo also faces charges of money laundering and theft by failure ot make required disposition of property received. Each second-degree charge carries a possible state prison term of five to 10 years.
Investigators say that Vito Grippo lured investors to financially troubled properties, buying the homes out from under the people living in them, and using the investors' personal data on bogus mortgage applications.
Authorities accused the pair of cheating 12 victims out of their homes and stealing $1,300,000 in total accrued equity, then acquiring several million more dollars through the fake applications and diverting the money.
The dwellings are in Elizabeth, Jersey City, Rutherford, Monroe, Somerville, and Mine Hill, as well as Brooklyn, Staten Island and Cambria Heights, New York.
"The end results," said Chiesa in a prepared statement, "were lost homes for former homeowners, ruined credit for investors, and major losses for lenders."
According to investigators, Vito Grippo operated several firms through a Holmdel office: Morgan Financial Equity Shares, Inc., Jandevar LLC, and Vanick Holdings LLC. The companies, they allege were the basis on which homeowners, investors and lenders were manipulated.
Homeowners, say authorities, were told that payments to Morgan Financial would be transferred to lenders, allowing them to keep 80 to 90 percent interest in their dwellings while giving the remainder to his firm.
Meanwhile, they allege, Grippo convinced investors that Morgan Financial would generate income through rental properties, unaware that the money was used to buy homes outright.
Investigators say that Frederick Grippo, a loan broker by trade, worked with his father to submit false documents to lenders for investors, including W-2 forms and bank statements, asserting that the investors would use the homes as their primary residences.
A third suspect, John Pereless, 44, of Colts Neck, pleaded guilty to theft by deception charges related to the Grippo case. His plea bargain places him at risk of a 10-year prison term to run concurrently with an eight-year sentence for a 2010 conviction in a mortgage fraud case prosecuted in Monmouth County.