7 Cops, 2 Lawyers & 1 FBI Agent Charged in Claimed $16M Mortgage Fraud
Posted Jul 14, 2010 8:52 AM CST
By Martha Neil
Seven current or former police officers, two real estate closing attorneys and an agent for the FBI are among the defendants federally charged in a claimed South Florida mortgage fraud that allegedly involved false information provided to lenders to obtain $16.5 million in loans.
Six of the officers are from the Plantation Police Department, whose then-chief asked outside authorities to investigate after he was tipped that uniformed officers were involved in a suspicious mortgage scheme on their off-duty time, reports the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
Charges against the 13 defendants in the Fort Lauderdale federal case include wire fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and making a false statement to a government agency, the newspaper reports, although individual defendants don't face all of these charges and the article doesn't break down which charges apply to which defendants.
The attorney defendants are Steven Stoll of Fort Lauderdale, a licensed mortgage broker and title company owner, and Stephen Orchard of Boca Raton, who worked with Stoll, according to the Sun Sentinel and the Miami Herald. The two men are accused of participating in the claimed scheme by closing transactions involving fraudulently obtained mortgages.
The articles don't include any comment from them or their lawyers. However, attorneys for police officers tell the Herald that their clients did nothing wrong;the submitted loan applications with accurate information. They blamed two mortgage brokers who are now cooperating with prosecutors, Matthew Gulla and Rene Rodriguez Jr., for the fraud.
The FBI agent charged in the case will continue to be paid while the case is pending, rather than being placed on administrative leave without pay, as at least some of the police officers have been, because his supervisors believe he did nothing wrong, the Herald reports, relying on information from unidentified sources.