Former N.J. lawyer sentenced in $40 million mortgage fraud

by Anna Sobrevinas10 Mar 2017
A former lawyer from Flemington, N.J., was sentenced to four years in Wednesday in connection with a mortgage scam that cost lenders $40.8 million, according to news site

Joseph W. Witkowski, 70, pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and a count of conspiracy to commit money.

According to prosecutors, Witkowski and his co-conspirators found overbuilt oceanfront condominiums and properties owned by financially distressed developers and homeowners and used straw buyers to get mortgages to buy the properties.

To make the straw buyers look legitimate, Witkowski and other conspirators faked documents such as W-2 forms, income tax returns and rental agreements. They also set up fake company telephone lines for lenders to call.

When lenders approved the loans, Witkowski and his co-conspirators wired the money into various accounts they controlled.

In addition to prison time, Witkowski was also sentenced to three years of supervised release, ordered to pay restitution of $13,105,570 and to forfeit $2,412,899 he gained from the fraud.

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