Ocean County Man Admits Role In $40.8 million Mortgage Faud Scheme

An Ocean County man admitted his role Friday in a $40.8 million mortgage fraud conspiracy, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Robert Serao, 48, of Bayville allegedly used his position as a loan officer of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Inc. to get the company to release more than $4.6 million based on fraudulent mortgage loan applications, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced Friday.

Serao pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joseph E. Irenas in Camden federal court to Count One of an indictment charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

He is the 10th defendant to plead guilty in the case.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

While working in various positions – including branch manager, sales manager and loan officer – within Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Inc., a division of Wells Fargo Bank N.A., Serao entered into a conspiracy with Stephen Corba, Charles Harvath, Joseph Witkowski and others to submit mortgage loans to his employer for financially unqualified “straw buyers” based upon false and fraudulent information contained in Uniform Residential Loan Applications, HUD-1 Forms, tax returns and other documents.

Serao’s conspirators caused fraudulent mortgage loan applications and supporting documents to be submitted to Wells Fargo and numerous other mortgage lenders in various straw buyers’ names, attributing to them inflated income and assets in order to induce the mortgage lenders to approve the loans.

Once the loans were approved and the mortgage lenders sent the loan proceeds in connection with the real estate closing on the properties, Serao’s conspirators took a portion of the proceeds from the fraudulent mortgage loans.

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage released more than $4.6 million based on fraudulent mortgage loan applications. Serao profited from his role in the conspiracy by increased commissions on the mortgage funds.

Nine of Serao’s conspirators have pleaded guilty to participating in this mortgage fraud conspiracy, including Harvath, Corba, John Siuszko, Michael Williams, William Brown, Mark Kreischer, Crystal Brame, Aku I. Muhammad and George Lachenmayr Jr. 

The wire fraud conspiracy charge to which Serao pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Sentencing for Serao is currently scheduled for June 24, 2014.

Fishman credited special agents of the FBI’s Atlantic City Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark; and IRS B Criminal Investigation in Mays Landing, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
FIMF the ll March 19, 2014 at 01:33 PM
@Nick, a funny way of wording things? Funny, how? Do I amuse you? Let me not digress. You do bring up some interesting points, but I'm not quite sure you get the gist of my message. You see, I believe that other than a very young child or an otherwise extremely immature human being becomes responsible for their own actions rather early in life. Of course, I also believe a parent to hopefully be a forever guiding light to their children given the wisdom they gain through life experience. I believe it was Bill Cosby that said: " My kids will be my kids for the rest of my life". Certainly, the good doctor does not take the responsibility of parenthood lightly, nor should he. This is why I'm urging you to honestly fight the urge and consider the cost of ambition, should you continue in your quest for an il gotten windfall. If not for you- do it for your Mom. I mean, what kind of self- respecting Mother would want a criminal for a son? Now, I now you're no dummy, -and, you're plan would be a good one- but do you really want to go through life with a disgusting and nasty nail biting habit. And, remember that over time the Teflon will where thin on even the very best Martha Stewart cookware. Again, do really want to go through life like that? As much as I would very much like a new sweater,blankie, or the amusing doily, it would be selfish of me want these amenities because you made bad choices or were brought into something you shouldn't be in because of some greedy,rogue conglomerates. Look before you leap @Nick; it's all about you (and, Mom of course). GODSPEED!
grace March 19, 2014 at 02:18 PM
welcome @ nicholas i am glad you changed that..was hard to take you seriously and you have alot of fine speaking points!!whens the next movie coming out you are a fave of mine...
FIMF the ll March 20, 2014 at 06:04 AM


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