NEWARK, N.J. – A Hudson County, New Jersey, man has been indicted for his role in running a large-scale mortgage fraud scheme that involved properties in Jersey City, Union, and elsewhere in New Jersey and caused losses of millions of dollars, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.
Anthony Garvin, 49, of Jersey City, was charged in a superseding indictment returned June 25, 2019, with one count of bank fraud conspiracy and five counts of bank fraud. Garvin was originally indicted on one count of bank fraud conspiracy and one count of bank fraud on Jan. 11, 2019.
According to the documents filed in this case:
From January 2011 through November 2017, Garvin and others engineered fraudulent short sale “flips” of various New Jersey properties with mortgages that were in default, and also fraudulently obtained numerous home equity lines of credit, or “HELOC” loans, using fraudulent documents and information.
The conspirators allegedly arranged simultaneous fraudulent transactions on the same target property. In the first transaction, which involved the sale by the current owner, the conspirators convinced the financial institution holding the mortgage to accept the sale of the target property at a loss, usually to a buyer who was secretly a conspirator or an entity controlled by the conspiracy.
In the second transaction, the conspirators flipped the same target property from the first buyer to a second buyer, who typically obtained a mortgage from another financial institution using false loan applications, pay stubs, bank account statements and title reports provided by members of the conspiracy. The second transaction frequently closed for significantly more or even double the price of the first transaction.
Garvin and others allegedly rigged the short sale process at each step to maximize the difference in price between the two transactions and keep the victim financial institutions from detecting the fraud. The conspirators used various kinds of phony documents and misrepresentations, including generating false pre-approval letters from a New Jersey corporation controlled by a conspirator and generating phony deeds that backdated the closing date of the first transactions.
To obtain HELOC loans, the conspirators allegedly submitted loan applications in the name of straw borrowers, who did not in fact reside at the subject properties, and used false and fraudulent information – including false pay stubs and tax information – to make it appear as though the straw borrowers made more money than they actually did. The conspirators frequently applied for multiple HELOC loans on the same property nearly contemporaneously, withholding from each lender the existence of other applications.
The conspirators then disbursed the funds received from financial institutions – which totaled millions of dollars – into various accounts they controlled to conceal their illegal activities and split the profits.
The count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and each substantive count of bank fraud are each punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector in Charge James Buthorn, and special agents of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) – Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Steven Perez in Newark, with the investigation leading to the superseding indictment.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Feder and Zach Intrater of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.
The charges and allegations in the superseding indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.