A Bayville man will spend the next two years in state prison for his role in a $40.8 million mortgage fraud conspiracy, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said today.
Robert Serao, 48, previously pleaded guilty after he was indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Authorities say Serao used his position as Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Inc. loan officer to get the company to release more than $4.6 million in fraudulent loan applications, Fishman said.
Serao was the tenth defendant to plead guilty in the case. U.S. District Judge Joseph E. Irenas imposed the sentence today in Camden federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Serao entered into a conspiracy 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, according to case documents.
He worked in various positions - including branch manager, sales manager and loan officer within the company - a division of Wells Fargo Bank N.A.
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, according to case documents.
When the loans were approved and the mortgage lenders sent the loan proceeds in connection with the real estate closings on the properties, Serao’s conspirators took a portion of the proceeds from the fraudulent mortgage loans, Fishman said.
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, he said.
Judge Irenas also sentenced Serao to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of $1,520,606.
Fishman credited special agents of the FBI's Atlantic City Resident Agency and IRS B Criminal Investigation in Mays Landing with the investigation leading to the sentence.