Three Perpetrators of $49.6 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme Sentenced
The final three individuals involved in the $49.6 million Hampton Springs mortgage fraud scheme, which was organized and led by Miami resident Domenico “Dom” Rabuffo, were sentenced yesterday. Rabuffo’s ex-wife was sentenced to 14 years in prison, and the other two individuals who acted as recruiters for the scheme were sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Jason T. Moran, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG), Atlanta Regional Office, made the announcement.
Chief United States District Judge K. Michael Moore sentenced Mae Rabuffo, 75, of New York, to 14 years in prison, and sentenced Raymond E. “Ray” Olivier, 53, of Land O’ Lakes, Florida, and Curtis Allen Davis, 52, of Tampa, Florida, each to 20 years in prison for their roles in the fraud. Dom Rabuffo, 78, of Miami, Florida, was previously sentenced to 27 years and three months in prison. All four defendants were convicted by a federal jury in Miami, in July, 2014, following an 11-day trial.
According to the indictment and evidence at trial, from 2003 to 2008, Dom Rabuffo and his co-defendants conspired to perpetrate a complex $49.6 million mortgage fraud scheme against various FDIC-insured lenders, including Bank of America, Regions Bank, SunTrust Bank, and Wachovia Bank. Dom Rabuffo and his ex-wife Mae Rabuffo used shell companies to acquire ownership and control of a purported residential property development known as Hampton Springs, located in Cashiers, North Carolina.
Then, Dom Rabuffo, Olivier, and Davis recruited numerous straw borrowers to purchase building lots in the development. Several of the straw borrowers testified at the trial. According to their testimony and other evidence, Dom Rabuffo paid the borrowers to obtain lot purchase loans and construction loans for building lots in Hampton Springs. To obtain the loans, Domenico Rabuffo, Mae Rabuffo, Olivier, Davis, and other conspirators, submitted fraudulent loan applications and related documents to the lenders and the lenders’ closing agents.
Among other things, the loan applications and settlement statements for the lot loans contained fraudulent statements that the borrowers paid earnest money deposits and cash due at the closing. In fact, the deposits and cash-to-close were paid by Dom Rabuffo and Mae Rabuffo using recycled proceeds from the fraudulent scheme. Further, Dom Rabuffo and Mae Rabuffo sent fraudulent correspondence to the closing agents, including letters bearing the forged signatures of borrowers, to create the false impression that the deposits and cash due at closing had been supplied by the borrowers from their own funds.
Olivier and Davis recruited straw borrowers for the fraud scheme and submitted fraudulent loan applications to the lenders. Further, Olivier and Davis caused their private companies to be disclosed as the employers of straw borrowers whose actual employment was inconsistent with the inflated income stated on their loan applications. Then, when contacted by lenders, Olivier and Davis provided fraudulent verifications of employment for those borrowers.
Three other defendants, Diane M. Hayduk, 65, and Victor Miguel Vidal, 49, each of Miami, Florida, and Lazaro Jesus Perez, 44, of Miami Springs, Florida, pled guilty to the charged conspiracy and agreed to assist the United States. Hayduk assisted the Rabuffos with the misappropriation of loan proceeds and the transmission of fraudulent correspondence to the lenders and the closing agents. Vidal served as a loan officer at SunTrust Mortgage, where he sponsored fraudulent loan applications for lots in Hampton Springs, including fraudulent applications for $33 million in construction loans. Perez furnished fictitious accountant letters to Vidal, in support of fraudulent loan applications submitted to SunTrust Mortgage. Hayduk, Vidal, and Perez were sentenced in September, 2014. Hayduk was sentenced to 40 months in prison, Vidal was sentenced to 64 months in prison, and Perez was sentenced to 30 months’ in prison.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and FDIC-OIG. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Dwayne E. Williams and Jerrob Duffy.
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 http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.