A Morganville man is accused of providing fraudulent real estate appraisals as part of a $10 million mortgage fraud scheme, the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office announced in a press release.
Paul Chemidlin Jr., 41, allegedly provided the appraisals although he was not a licensed real estate appraiser, authorities said. Chemidlin was arrested by FBI special agents Thursday morning along with Jose Luis Salguero Bedoya, 36, of Elizabeth and Verona; Delio Coutinho, 50, of Colonia; Joseph DiValli, 44, of Jackson; Christopher Ju, 26, of East Brunswick; Carmine Fusco, 44, of East Hanover; Jose Martins, 31, of Newark; Yazmin Soto-Cruz, 32, of Elizabeth; and Kenneth Sweetman, 32, of Lyndhurst and Nutley.
According to the complaint warrant, Salguero, Coutinho, Ju, and Soto targeted 15 properties in and around Newark and Elizabeth from March 2008 to July 2012. They allegedly obtained control of the properties through fraudulent short sale transactions and identity theft. Salguero, Coutinho, Ju, and Soto are accused of submitting false documents to lenders in order to obtain the mortgage funds.
From March 2011 to July 2012, Chemidlin, DiValli, Fusco, Martins, and Sweetman allegedly joined Salguero in scheme. The defendants are accused of submitting letters to mortgage lenders stating the borrower was obtaining the down payment from a relative or friend in the form of a gift, when the funds were actually provided by Salguero. The defendants also allegedly submitted false appraisals inflating property values.
The defendants are accused of defrauding banks of approximately $10 million as a result of the scheme.
The New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office press release stated the defendants played various roles in the scheme. In addition to Chemidlin’s alleged role in producing false appraisals, Salguero and his girlfriend, Soto, are accused of provided funding for the fraud. Coutinho and DiValli were loan officers at a northern New Jersey mortgage brokerage company who allegedly submitted false documents in support of the schemes. Ju is accused of negotiating the fraudulent short sale real estate transactions. Fusco and Sweetman allegedly conducted fraudulent real estate closings although they were not licensed attorneys or title agents. Martins was a bank employee who allegedly facilitated certain financial transactions.
Each of the nine defendants is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1,000,000.