White-Collar Crime

2 Florida Attorneys Take Plea in Federal Mortgage Fraud Case

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Two lawyers from Orange County, Fla., have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud charges in a federal mortgage fraud case in Orlando.

Court documents say Daniel Hoskins, 42, and Alexander Zouzoulas, 56, worked for the Nate Hoskins firm, which had exclusive closing rights at three condominium projects, reports Central Florida News 13. They face up to five years in prison when they are sentenced.

The case involved a claimed conspiracy among multiple individuals involved in the projects to inflate sales prices of units and sell them to “straw buyers” who falsely said they intended to occupy the condos as their primary homes. Kickbacks were then allegedly paid after closing to purchasers and real estate agents.

“Both Hoskins and Zouzoulas allowed closings to occur on multiple condominium purchases, using a single straw buyer that reflected that the condominiums would be the buyer’s ‘primary residence,’ even though Hoskins and Zouzoulas knew or should have known this was false,” says a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.

“Both men scheduled closings on multiple condominium purchases by the same straw buyer in such a way to conceal from lenders the fact that the straw buyer had purchased multiple condominium units,” the release continues. “Hoskins and Zouzoulas also allowed payments to be made to shell companies that were established so that realtors could receive illegal kickbacks for participating in the scheme. Neither disclosed, to lenders, the existence of the kickbacks or the disguised payments to straw buyers and realtors.”

The News 13 article doesn’t include any comment from the two attorneys or their counsel. Hoskins is currently suspended from practice.

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