Earlier today, at a federal courthouse in Brooklyn, former unlicensed mortgage broker Brent Kaufman pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto to criminal information, accusing him of stealing $ 4.7 million from mortgage refinancing proceeds intended to pay off existing mortgage loans. his clients. On sentencing, Kaufman faces up to 30 years in prison, as well as confiscation and a fine of up to $ 1 million.
Jacqueline M. Kasoulis, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Michael J. Driscoll, Deputy Acting Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), Robert W. Manchak, Special Agent-In-Charge, Federal Agency Housing Finance, Office of the Inspector General (FHFA-OIG), and Darnell D. Edwards, acting inspector of the United States Postal Inspection, New York Office (USPIS), pleaded guilty.
“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,” said Acting US Attorney Kasulis. “This FDA is prosecuting defendants like Kaufman who are forced by greed to abuse the trust of innocent homeowners.” Ms Kasoulis expressed her gratitude to the FBI, FHFA-OIG and USPIS for their outstanding work and assistance in this investigation and prosecution.
“Kaufman not only stole his victims’ money, but also undermined their trust, leaving them financially vulnerable and putting them at risk of serious financial hardship,” said FBI Deputy Acting Director Driscoll. “Collectively, his victims suffered millions of dollars in losses. Today’s admission of guilt reminds us of the threat posed by those who put their own financial interests first. ”
“Brent Kaufman betrayed the trust of unsuspecting homeowners by stealing millions of dollars in mortgage payments without paying creditors. As these allegations show, FHFA-OIG and its law enforcement partners will investigate and prosecute those who are trying to harass Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and abuse the lending process for unjust enrichment, ”said the FHFA-OIG Commissioner. -Manchak.
“This is a classic example of how greed overcomes honest business practices as Mr. Kaufman used his access to customer funds to enrich his lifestyle. His actions led to the financial ruin of many, holders of two mortgages and the threat of foreclosure. Law enforcement will always work tirelessly to hold people accountable for their crimes against the American public, ”said Acting USPIS inspector Edwards.
Kaufman worked as an unlicensed mortgage broker and frequently assisted clients in Queens and Long Island with refinancing their mortgages, according to court documents and facts presented during the plea. 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 a scheme to defraud the financial corporation Home Point, LoanDepot.com LLC and United Wholesale Mortgage and other mortgage lenders (hereinafter referred to as the Lenders) by obtaining and attempting to obtain funds and funds from Lenders by providing deliberately false information. In particular, Kaufman provided lenders with incorrect routing information for existing mortgages. 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 the funds for his own use.
During the indictment period, Kaufman stole more than $ 4.7 million, some of which he used to pay off mortgage payments on existing mortgages or eventually pay off those mortgages 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.
The government case is being investigated by Assistant US Attorneys Jonathan Siegel and Laura Mantell.
Commack, New York
EDNY Document # 21-CR-425 (KAM)