NJ man pleads guilty to role in $40.8m fraud

by Ryan Smith17 Mar 2014
A New Jersey man has admitted his role in a $40.8 million mortgage scam, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Robert Serao, 48, was one of 10 defendants to plead guilty in the scam. Prosecutors say Serao used his position as a loan officer at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage to bilk the company out of more than $4.6 million based on fraudulent loan applications.

Serao worked in various positions at Wells Fargo, including branch manager, sales manager and loan officer. Prosecutors say he entered into a conspiracy with others to submit mortgage applications for straw buyers using falsified mortgage applications. The conspirators fraudulently inflated the straw buyers’ income and assets to convince Wells Fargo and other lenders to pay out, then diverted a portion of loan proceeds for their own use.

Serao, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, faced up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million. His sentencing is scheduled for June.



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