NJ man pleads guilty in $13 million mortgage scam

A New Jersey man faces up to 30 years in prison for his role in a $13 million mortgage fraud scheme

A New Jersey man has admitted to playing a role in a $13 million mortgage fraud scam, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

John Leadbeater, 58, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. According to U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman, Leadbeater and his co-conspirators purchased condos overbuilt by distressed developers in Wildwood and Wildwood Crest, N.J. They then recruited straw buyers from New Jersey and several other states to purchase the condos.

“The straw buyers had good credit scores, but lacked the financial resources to qualify for the mortgage loans,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Leadbeater and his co-conspirators created phony documents to make the buyers appear more creditworthy than they actually were. Once the loans were approved and the funds disbursed, the conspirators took a portion of the proceeds.

Leadbeater admitted to participating in fraudulent activity related to nine of the properties, and causing mortgage lenders to fund more than $4.7 million in mortgages based on fraudulent loan applications and closing documents. As part of his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to dismiss a charge of money laundering conspiracy.

Leadbeater could face up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million on the wire fraud conspiracy charge. He is scheduled for sentencing in June.