Three Charged with Participating in Mortgage Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office August 09, 2013|
Deirdre M. Daly, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal grand jury sitting in Hartford has returned an indictment charging three individuals with participating in a mortgage fraud scheme involving the purchase of more than 40 properties throughout Connecticut. The seven-count indictment, which was unsealed today, charges FILIPPOS MILIOS, also known as “Filip,” 54, of Newington; MALGORZATA KARAS-GOLKA, also known as “Margaret,” 45, of Newington; and CARMELINDA MAROTTA, also known as “Linda,” 44, of Manchester, with conspiracy and fraud offenses.
According to the indictment, from approximately June 2005 to at least November 2008, MILIOS, KARAS-GOLKA, MAROTTA, and others conspired to commit mail and bank fraud by defrauding banks and mortgage lenders in obtaining dozens of mortgages for the sale of properties owned by MILIOS and KARAS-GOLKA. Some of the loans involved in the scheme were insured through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
The indictment alleges that the mortgage fraud conspiracy involved the use of straw borrowers, false mortgage applications, false HUD-1 forms, fraudulent down payments, and false verification forms in connection with the purchase of more than 40 houses in Hartford, New Haven, and Middlesex Counties. As part of the scheme, MILIOS, MAROTTA, and others recruited or identified borrowers to purchase properties from MILIOS, KARAS-GOLKA, and their co-conspirators. MILIOS is alleged to have made the down payments on behalf of the borrowers recruited to purchase the properties he and his co-conspirators were selling.
The indictment also alleges that MILIOS, KARAS-GOLKA, and MAROTTA falsely represented to the lenders that a borrower intended to occupy a property as a primary residence. Part of the conspiracy involved borrowers submitting mortgage applications to purchase multiple properties as primary residences.
The indictment alleges that MILIOS paid money to borrowers, mortgage brokers, and recruiters, including MAROTTA, which was not disclosed to the mortgage lenders. MILIOS and MAROTTA also concealed from the lenders MAROTTA’s involvement in several fraudulent transactions and her receipt of a portion of the seller’s proceeds.
The indictment further alleges that MILIOS engaged in a money laundering conspiracy with Gabriel Serrano, a closing attorney. In the course of many of the fraudulent closings involving MILIOS’s sale to borrowers, Serrano received mortgage proceeds from banks and mortgage lenders. Serrano would frequently disburse some of those proceeds to private lenders who had loaned MILIOS money to purchase those properties.
MILIOS, KARAS-GOLKA, and MAROTTA are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and bank fraud, as well as separate counts of bank fraud. Each of these charges carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years. MILIOS and KARAS-GOLKA are also charged with separate counts of mail fraud. Each of these charges carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
The indictment also charges MILIOS with conspiracy to commit money laundering, a charge that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, and KARAS-GOLKA with making a false statement to federal agents in March 2013, a charge that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.
MILIOS was originally charged by criminal complaint in January 2013.
The three defendants appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas P. Smith in Hartford, pleaded not guilty to the charges and were released on bond.
On August 6, 2013, Serrano waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and bank fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He awaits sentencing.
As to MILIOS, KARAS-GOLKA, and MAROTTA, Acting U.S. Attorney Daly stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-Office of Inspector General, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys David T. Huang and Paul H. McConnell.