Broward Title Company Attorney-Owner, Employee, and Broker Charged in Mortgage Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 16, 2010|
Jeffrey H. Sloman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office; Henry Gutierrez, Postal Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and J. Thomas Cardwell, Commissioner, State of Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation, announced the unsealing of an indictment against defendants Michael Samuda, 37, of Pembroke Pines and Weston, Monique Mitchell, 29, of Pembroke Pines, Florida, and Sheldon Martin, 34, of Plantation. Both Mitchell and Martin appeared at the Federal Courthouse in West Palm Beach this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Linnea Johnson. Samuda is scheduled to appear on April 21, 2010.
Michael Samuda, an attorney, was charged in one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, one count of substantive mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341, four counts of substantive wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343. and one count of making false statements on a HUD-1 Form, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001. If convicted, Samuda faces a maximum statutory sentence of five years in prison on each of the conspiracy and the false statement counts, up to 30 years on each count of mail fraud and wire fraud count, and up to five years in prison on the false statement count. Defendants Monique Mitchell and Sheldon Martin, a mortgage broker, are charged with one count of making false statements on a HUD-1 Form, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001, and face up to five years in prison on that count.
According to the indictment, Samuda operated a title escrow company called Attorney Title Center, in Pembroke Pines. In January 2008, Samuda’s company closed on the purchase of real estate at 4010 Bayview Drive in Fort Lauderdale. The indictment alleges that Samuda, along with his employee Mitchell and the seller Sheldon Martin engaged in a scheme to defraud Regions Bank, the mortgage lender, by preparing and submitting false closing documents, including a HUD-1 Settlement Statement Form on the $1,250,000 property sale.
Special Agent in Charge John V. Gillies stated, “The FBI views mortgage fraud as a significant crime problem. The mortgage lending and housing market have a considerable overall effect on the nation’s economy and combating mortgage fraud will remain a top priority for the FBI.”
Mr. Sloman commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State of Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Kay.
An indictment is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.