California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Hasidic Scammer Pleads Guilty in Massive Short Sale Fraud

A 20-something Hasidic Jew who played a central role in a dual mortgage fraudshort sale fraud conspiracy in New Haven, Connecticut,  has pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court in Bridgeport to charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud.

Menachem Joseph “Yossi” Levitin faces up to 30 years in jail and $20 million in fines for helping arrange to bilk lenders out of $10 million while leaving a trail of rundown New Haven properties. Charles Lesser, 30, a New Haven Realtor®, pleaded guilty to the same crimes a few days earlier.

According to prosecutors, Levitin’s scam had two parts:

In Part 1, he approached homeowners in distress and offered to buy their properties. He got appraisers to over-value properties (appraisal fraud), drew up sale documents, then facilitated the sale to a buyer at the fair-market value, pocketing the difference for himself and his co-conspirators.

When the properties went into default – in short positions – Yossi Levitin implemented Part 2: offering to buy the properties from the banks at discounted prices (short sale fraud). The banks were never aware that Levitin had orchestrated the original mortgage fraud and that he had been the cause of the foreclosures.

Prosecutors said that the crimes committed by Levitin, Lesser and others contributed to the urban decay that is plaguing New Haven.

Readers of the California Real Estate Fraud Report will recall that the first successful prosecution for short sale fraud also occurred in Connecticut, where Realtor® Anna McElaney and her co-conspirator Sergio Natero were both sentenced to prison for ripping off Regions Bank.

Read the original article in the New Haven Independent.

© Copyright 2007-2018 Monique Bryher

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The information and notices contained on The California Real Estate Fraud Report are intended to summarize recent developments in real estate fraud, mortgage fraud, short sale fraud, REO fraud, appraisal fraud, loan modification scams, loan modification fraud and other real estate related crimes occurring in Los Angeles and California. The posts on this site are presented as general research and information and are expressly not intended, and should not be regarded, as legal advice. Much of the information on this site concerns allegations made in civil lawsuits and in criminal indictments. All persons are presumed innocent until convicted of a crime. Readers who have particular questions about real estate fraud, mortgage fraud and appraisal fraud matters or who believe they require legal counsel should seek the advice of an attorney.

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