A financial advisor from Jackson faces up to 10 years in prison after admitting that he conned foreclosure-threatened homeowners out of more than a million dollars and sold their properties. His son also faces prison time for his role in it.

Vito Grippo (NJ Division of Criminal Justice)

Vito Grippo, 58, pleaded guilty Wednesday to second-degree theft by failure to make required disposition of property received, and third-degree money laundering.

His office in Holmdel housed Morgan Financial Equity Shares, Inc.; Jandevar, LLC; and Vanick Holdings, LLC. Father and son were arrested last September 27.

The case was brought by prosecutors under New Jersey Attorney Jeffrey Chiesa, who are recommending a 10-year stretch. They're asking for a four-year sentence for ,
Grippo's son, Frederick C. Grippo, 32, of Old Bridge, who pleaded guilty in January to second-degree theft by deception. Frederick Grippo is ordered to pay fines totalling $24,681.

The scheme applied to 12 homes in Elizabeth, Jersey City, Rutherford, Monroe, Somerville, Mine Hill, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Cambria Heights, New York. Investigators determined that he submitted false loan applications for a total of $4,500,000 to buy the properties, then took more than $1,300,000 in loan money that should have been disbursed as equity at closings.

Frederick Grippo (NJ Division of Criminal Justice)

All the homes eventually fell into foreclosure, the original ownes lost their properties and their credit ratings were destroyed.

Grippo admitted in a Trenton courtroom that he solicited 12 homeowners in money trouble between February 14, 2007 and January 7, 2010, offering to help stave off foreclosure and fix their credit ratings by temporarily transferring their titles to Morgan Financial.

Investigators learned that Grippo convinced homeowners that they would keep as much as 90 percent of their properties while Morgan Financial and an outside investor held the remainder.

Authorities say that Grippo instructed them to submit mortgage payments to Morgan for distribution to the lenders, promising payment reductions and full title restoration. Later, the victims got notices that their payments would increase.

Grippo told a judge that he sold the homes to investors who didn't realize they were buying them outright, but thought that they were investing in revenue-generating properties through Morgan.

Frederick Grippo, the broker, admitted handing in fraudulent applications for investors, including W-2 forms and bank statements, indicating falsely that the investors would turn the homes into their primary residences. Investigators say homeowners and investors signed documents without fully understanding what they were signing.

The New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice maintains a corruption and financial crime hotline, 1-866-TIPS-4CJ. The Division web page has more information, www.njdcj.org.