A Kommac resident pleaded guilty at a federal courthouse in Brooklyn on Tuesday to stealing $ 4.7 million in mortgage refinancing proceeds that was meant to pay off his clients’ existing mortgages, officials said.
According to the US Department of Justice, Brent Kaufman, whom officials describe as a “former unlicensed mortgage broker”, faces up to 30 years in prison, as well as confiscation and a fine of up to $ 1 million.
“With today’s plea of guilt, Kaufman admits to having stolen millions of dollars in a brazen mortgage fraud scheme that defrauded numerous lenders and left his homeowner clients at risk of losing their homes through foreclosure,” Acting US Attorney Jacqueline said in a statement. Kasulis.
“Kaufman not only stole his victims’ money, but also undermined their trust, leaving them financially vulnerable and putting them at risk of serious financial complications,” FBI Deputy Acting Director Michael Driscoll said in a statement. “Collectively, his victims suffered millions of dollars in losses.”
As an unlicensed mortgage broker, Kaufman has often helped clients in Queens and Long Island refinance mortgages, officials say. When closing for mortgage refinancing, money from the new mortgage must be transferred to a financial institution that has an existing mortgage in order to be paid back. Between 2016 and 2019, Kaufman, along with others, participated in the scam scheme of Home Point Financial Corporation, LoanDepot.com, United Wholesale Mortgage and other mortgage lenders, obtaining and trying to obtain money and funds from lenders through material false representations.
Kaufman gave lenders incorrect information about the routing of existing mortgages, officials said. Instead of transferring funds to the correct financial institution, funds were transferred to bank accounts controlled by Kaufman. As a result, existing mortgages were not paid off – clients were left with two mortgages on their homes – and Kaufman stole those funds for his own use, officials said.
Officials say Kaufman used the money to pay off mortgage payments on existing mortgages or to repay them to avoid disclosing his scheme. When Kaufman stopped paying off existing mortgages, several of his clients’ homes were foreclosed. The victims of the scheme ultimately suffered losses of about $ 2.5 million.