Real Estate & Property Law
Real Estate Attorney Indicted re $1.5M in Personal Loans His Lawyer Says Are Paid Up
Posted Jun 18, 2010 5:31 PM CST
By Martha Neil
A Rhode Island lawmaker who has a private practice as a real estate attorney has been federally indicted on seven counts of bank fraud concerning $1.5 million in personal loans that his lawyer says are not in arrears.
State Sen. Christopher Maselli, a Democrat, is accused of lying about his income and assets and falsifying bank and federal tax documents, in order to qualify for mortgages and an auto loan, according to the Providence Journal and a Federal Bureau of Investigation press release.
“It goes without saying that ensuring the integrity of the mortgage loan application process is of critical importance," says U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha in the release. "The allegations in this indictment are particularly disturbing in that an attorney, who is trusted to provide sound legal advice and to conduct real estate transactions in a fair and honest manner, used his expertise to fraudulently obtain his own mortgages.”
But attorney William Kettlewell, who is representing Maselli, says in a written statement to the newspaper that several of the loans have been fully paid and the others are being paid in accordance with the lenders' requirements.
"The banks have not lost a cent," says Kettlewell. "In short, there was no fraud, there is no fraud and we believe there will never be a determination of fraud concerning these loans."
News of the prosecution comes within days of a federal government announcement of stepped-up enforcement concerning mortgage fraud.