The man confessed to using false documents and straw buyers
A New Jersey man has admitted his role in a scheme that defrauded mortgage lenders and others of more than $6 million, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey.
Mehdi Kassai pleaded guilty before US District Judge William Martini in Newark federal court to an information charging him with two counts of bank fraud, one count of wire fraud, and one count of money laundering.
Kassai, in cooperation with others, fraudulently induced lenders to participate in short-sale transactions from June 2013 to March 2017. He admitted to using false documents and straw buyers, causing cosmetic damage to properties to lower their apparent value, and restricting the ability of others to bid and buy those properties.
Kassai’s scheme allowed him to gain control of properties through the short-sale process for substantially less than the properties were actually worth. He then sold many of the properties to third parties at a substantial profit.
The bank fraud and wire fraud counts are punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million, or twice the gross gain to the defendant or loss to the victim. The count of money laundering is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss. Kassai also agreed to forfeit the proceeds of the scheme.
Kassai is scheduled to be sentenced on April 18.