Two Women Plead Guilty to Participating in Mortgage Fraud Scheme
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that two women involved in an extensive mortgage fraud scheme have pleaded guilty in Hartford federal court. Today, MALGORZATA KARAS-GOLKA, also known as “Margaret,” 46, of Newington, pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud related to the scheme and, on November 3, CARMELINDA MAROTTA, also known as “Linda,” 45, of Manchester, pleaded guilty to bank fraud, as well.
According to court documents and statements made in court, from approximately June 2005 to July 2010, Filippos Milios, KARAS-GOLKA, MAROTTA and others conspired to defraud banks and mortgage lenders in obtaining dozens of mortgages for the sale of properties owned by Milios, KARAS-GOLKA and others. The conspiracy involved the use of straw borrowers, false mortgage applications, false HUD-1 forms and fraudulent down payments in connection with the purchase of nearly 50 houses primarily located in Hartford, New Haven and Middlesex counties.
As part of the scheme, Milios purchased properties, either in his own name, in a limited liability corporation in which he had an interest, or with KARAS-GOLKA. Milios, MAROTTA and others then recruited borrowers to purchase these properties. Unbeknownst to the lenders who extended mortgages to the borrowers, Milios, MAROTTA, and KARAS-GOLKA submitted fraudulent documents in connection with the loan applications, including false HUD-1 forms, employment verification letters, and rental verification letters.
Milios made the down payments on behalf of the borrowers who were recruited to purchase the properties. Attorney Gabriel Serrano, who served as a closing attorney for most of the fraudulent transactions, often released the seller’s proceeds checks from a closing to Milios before receiving the down payment, and Milios used the seller’s proceeds checks to purchase the down payment check for the same transaction. Milios failed to disclose to mortgage lenders that he paid money to borrowers, mortgage brokers, and recruiters.
Many of the properties involved in the scheme ended up in foreclosure and lenders lost a total of approximately $5.6 million.
In pleading guilty, KARAS-GOLKA admitted that she was involved in nine fraudulent real estate transactions, and MAROTTA admitted that she was involved in three fraudulent transactions.
The charge of bank fraud carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years. Both MAROTTA and KARAS-GOLKA are scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson on January 30, 2015.
Milios and Serrano previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and bank fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. They await sentencing.
This case is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development—Office of Inspector General, the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Postal Inspection Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David T. Huang and William J. Nardini.