Littleton Man Sentenced for Implementing Mortgage Fraud Scheme
DENVER—Peter V. Capra, age 57, of Littleton, Colorado, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson to serve 144 months in federal prison for wire fraud and money laundering, federal authorities announced. Following his prison sentence, Capra was ordered to serve three years on supervised release. Capra was also ordered by Judge Jackson to pay over $9 million in restitution. Capra was remanded into custody at the conclusion of the hearing.
Capra was found guilty on March 21, 2014, following a 8-day trial before Judge Jackson. The jury deliberated for two days before reaching their verdict. Capra was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on April 15, 2012, followed by a superseding indictment on May 23, 2012. As part of the mortgage fraud scheme, Demetrious G. Gianopoulos, and Brian Waring were charged in two separate indictments and Justin Knight was charged by an information. Gianopoulos pled guilty to one count of money laundering and was sentenced to five years’ probation. Knight pled guilty to destruction of records in a federal investigation and was sentenced to 12 months of home confinement. Waring pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering and was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison on September 25, 2014.
According to the indictment, superseding indictment and evidence presented at trial, Capra was the President of Golden Design Group, Inc. (GDG), a company which built and sold houses in the Denver metropolitan area. Capra was also the registered agent for Distinctive Mortgages, LLC, which used space within GDG’s office building and provided mortgages to some of the customers buying houses from GDG.
From January 2005 through July 2008, Capra, along with others, executed a scheme to defraud several mortgage lenders. The scheme was executed in connection with applications for residential mortgage loans and related documents associated with real estate purchases including but not limited to 33 properties in Parker, Colorado. Capra structured transactions involving GDG homes to allow buyers to receive substantial amounts of the lenders’ money at the time of closing without the knowledge of the lenders. He also sold a large volume of homes to otherwise unwilling or unqualified buyers. The evidence at trial showed that Capra netted over $11,000,000 as a result of his scheme.
Loan applications for the buyers were submitted through several different mortgage brokers that assisted with providing, or at least failing to question the accuracy of, false information submitted in connection with the applications, including materially false and fraudulent representations about the buyers’ income, liabilities, source of down payment, and intent to occupy the properties as their primary residences. At closing, funds ranging from $85,000 to over $200,000 were distributed to the buyers in ways that prevented the lenders from discovering that these funds were actually going to the buyers; these funds were not disclosed in the HUD-1 closing statements or were disguised in those statements.
Capra was charged with and found guilty of fourteen counts of wire fraud, two counts of mail fraud, and ten counts of money laundering. He was found not guilty of one count of obstruction of justice. Each count of wire and mail fraud carries a penalty of not more than 20 years in federal prison, and a fine of the greater of up to $250,000 or twice the gain or loss from the offense. Each count of money laundering carries a penalty of not more than 10 years in federal prison, and a fine of the greater of up to $250,000 or the value of the property involved in the transaction. At sentencing, the Judge will also consider entering an order of asset forfeiture, including all property constituting or derived from proceeds traceable to the commission of the offense, or a money judgment equal to the total proceeds taken.
This case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Postal Inspection Service. The case was prosecuted by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Troyer and Chief of the Economic Crimes Section of the Criminal Division, Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Kirsch.