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White-Collar Crime

Ex-Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud in $1.1M Mortgage Scheme

Posted Feb 2, 2012 3:48 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A disbarred lawyer has pleaded guilty in federal court in Rhode Island to multiple counts of bank fraud and filing false tax returns.

Prosecutors says James Levitt, 66, submitted fraudulent applications to obtain $1.1 million in mortgage financing in 2006 and 2007, according to the Associated Press and WPRI.

He also admittedly submitted fraudulent applications to obtain mortgages to purchase two properties in the Providence area from a friend who was facing foreclosure, WPRI reported. They subsequently went into foreclosure.

Levitt is accused of improperly banking $270,000 from the closings, the AP article says.

A Mortgage Fraud Blog post says Levitt persuaded a business associate to go in with him on a venture to purchase condominiums, rehab them and sell them at a profit.

The post says Levitt conducted the closings on the purchases although he had been disbarred.

He potentially faces a substantial prison term and fine when he is sentenced in April.

A Providence Journal article says other federal charges were dismissed in exchange for Levitt's guilty plea, but he is still facing a state charge for allegedly posing as a lawyer.

Once a prominent attorney, he was disbarred in 1991 in connection with loans arranged for a family court judge, the newspaper says.

The articles don't include any comment from Levitt or his counsel.

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