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White-Collar Crime

2 NY Lawyers Convicted in $25M Mortgage-Fraud Case

Posted Jul 30, 2012 11:11 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Two New York lawyers have each been convicted of 10 felony counts and acquitted of one felony count in what federal prosecutors described as a $25 million mortgage-fraud scheme.

Aaron Rabinowitz and Matthew Burstein, both 40, could get a maximum of 30 years when they are sentenced in November.

However, a lawyer representing Aaron Rabinowitz said his client and Burstein were only doing their jobs, reports Reuters. The two plan to file post-trial motions seeking a new trial in the Eastern District of New York case.

"There was a massive mortgage fraud conspiracy where people made a lot of money, and these two defendants were not a part of the conspiracy," Roger Stavis told the news agency. "They were only lawyers doing legal work and getting paid reasonable legal fees."

An indictment alleged that the two defendant lawyers participated in a scheme that bilked financial institutions of $25 million by persuading them to provide mortgages to uncreditworthy straw buyers with the help of falsified loan applications and misleading the lenders about how money was being disbursed at closings. Between 2001 and 2010, prosecutors say, the defendants earned commissions and fees from the claimed scheme, but the buyers eventually defaulted, costing lenders millions.

The other defendants pleaded guilty.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "2 Lawyers Face Federal Charges in Alleged 9-Year, $25M Mortgage Fraud Conspiracy"

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