Orange County Man Sentenced in Mortgage Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 24, 2013|
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Michael B. Steinbach, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce that defendant Bhardwaaj “Deo” Seecharan, 53, of Orange County, was sentenced yesterday for his participation in an extensive mortgage fraud scheme. The defendant was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez to 60 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release. In addition, Bhardwaaj Seecharan was ordered to pay $2,040,343.14 in restitution to the victim banks.
Bhardwaaj Seecharan previously pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud involving $3.5 million in diverted real estate escrow funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1349 and 1344.
According to statements made in court and publicly filed documents in the case, on December 9, 2010, Bhardwaaj Seecharan, his wife Gergawattie “Kamla” Seecharan, and two others were indicted on bank fraud, conspiracy, money laundering, and related mortgage fraud charges. According to the charges, the Seecharans, along with their two co-defendants, conspired to solicit mainly Guyanese residents of Florida and other states to act as straw buyers on fraudulent applications for more than $50 million worth of mortgage loans in connection with the purchase of more than 150 homes in Indian River County, Miami-Dade County, and elsewhere. Approximately 80 individuals served as straw buyers of properties in Vero Lake Estates (VLE), in Indian River County, and other developments. This scheme resulted in the issuance of more than $50 million in fraudulent mortgage loans. The proceeds were then used to buy more properties, sustain the deception, service preexisting mortgage loans in the scheme, and pay kickbacks to the straw buyers.
In addition, Kamla Seecharan and codefendant Linda Rovetto unlawfully diverted more than $3.5 million in mortgage loans from real estate closing escrow accounts to Raviworld New Homes Inc., a company managed by Kamla Seecharan’s husband and co-defendant Bhardwaaj Seecharan.
Linda Rovetto was sentenced on August 21, 2012, by Judge Martinez to 42 months in prison for her part in the bank fraud. Kamla Seecharan was sentenced on September 25, 2012, to 121 months in prison.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI. Mr. Ferrer also thanked the State of Florida Office of Financial Regulation, Bureau of Finance, West Palm Beach Regional Office for their work on this investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore Cooperstein.
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.