Attorney Charged in Property Mortgage Scam

A Massachusetts attorney, Michael R. Anderson, 41, of Framingham, was charged last week in federal court with wire fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering in connection with a multi-year, multi-property mortgage fraud scheme in Dorchester and Roxbury. United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation – Boston Field Division, announced today that the defendant was charged in an Information with 16 counts of wire fraud, nine counts of bank fraud, and two counts of money laundering.

The Information alleges that from September 2006 to April 2008, Anderson committed fraud in connection with the purported sale of some 27 condominium units in Boston. A developer, Michael David Scott, who was charged separately in an indictment on August 26, 2010, and his associates bought multi-family dwellings promising to convert them into condominiums, and then resold the individual units to various straw buyers. Scott, Anderson and others arranged for the straw buyers to obtain mortgage financing by falsifying key information, such as the buyers’ intent to reside in properties, assets, down payment, and/or funds paid at closing. The defendant and others arranged to prepare loan closing documents which the defendant used to facilitate the closings.

The Information further alleges that Anderson caused mortgage loan proceeds to be disbursed to Scott. In most instances, the straw buyers obtained residential mortgage loans for properties that they never intended to live in. While the lenders (mortgage companies and one bank) were led to believe they were lending to residential purchasers who had made substantial down payments, the developer and others recruited buyers by representing the purchases to them as a no-money-down “investment” opportunity. The “investors” were assured that they would not have to make any down payments, pay any closing costs, or pay expenses relating to the maintenance of the units, but would share in profits when the units were sold.

If Anderson is convicted on these charges, each count of bank fraud carries a sentence of up to 30 years in prison to be followed by up to five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $1 million; each wire fraud count carries imprisonment up to 20 years to be followed by up to three years of supervised release and up to a $250,000 fine; the money laundering counts each carry a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison to be followed by up to three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Victor A. Wild and Ryan M. DiSantis of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.

The details contained in the Information are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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