CAMDEN, N.J. – A Hudson County, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 60 months in prison for his role in a $13 million mortgage fraud scam that used phony documents and “straw buyers” to make illegal profits on overbuilt condos in Wildwood and Wildwood Crest, New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
John Leadbeater, 59, of Kearny, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Simandle to a superseding indictment charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Judge Simandle imposed the sentence today in Camden federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Leadbeater and his conspirators located condominiums overbuilt by financially distressed developers in Wildwood and Wildwood Crest, New Jersey. They then recruited “straw buyers” from New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Arkansas, and California, to purchase those properties. The straw buyers had good credit scores, but lacked the financial resources to qualify for the mortgage loans. The conspirators created false documents, including loan applications that contained fraudulent financial and employment information, to make the straw buyers appear more credit-worthy and induce the lenders to make the loans.
Once the loans were approved, Leadbeater and his conspirators created and signed fraudulent closing documents in order to induce the mortgage lenders to send the loan proceeds in connection with real estate closings on the properties. Once the mortgage lenders sent the loan proceeds, Leadbeater and his conspirators took a portion of the proceeds, having funds wired or checks deposited into various accounts they controlled. They also distributed a portion of the proceeds to the other members of the conspiracy for their respective roles.
Leadbeater admitted to personally participating in fraudulent activity related to nine properties in Wildwood and Wildwood Crest. He admitted causing mortgage lenders to fund $4,711,557 worth of mortgages based on the bogus loan applications and closing documents prepared by him and his conspirators.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Simandle sentenced Leadbeater to five years of supervised release. A restitution hearing has been set for July 28, 2016.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents from the FBI’s Atlantic City Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark; and special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation in Mays Landing, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen in Newark, for the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jacqueline M. Carle and Matthew T. Smith of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.
Defense counsel: Thomas J. Cammarata Esq. and Jeffrey Garrigan Esq., Jersey City