White-Collar Crime

Real Estate Lawyer Pleads Guilty in Fraud Case Over Paid-Up Home Loans

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Real estate lawyer and former state lawmaker Christopher Maselli is current on mortgage payments for some $1.7 million in financing for four homes he started purchasing during the real estate boom, his lawyer says.

But because he allegedly falsified documentation to obtain the loans, including two tax returns and bank records, and applied for funding for two loans in the name of his wife’s grandmother, inflating her income to do so, he pleaded guilty yesterday to eight counts of bank fraud, reports the Providence Journal.

After the grandmother’s closing was completed, Maselli transferred her home into his name a week later, the article says.

When he is sentenced in February, Maselli could get as much as 240 years in prison and $8 million in fines, Chief Judge Mary Lisi warned him before he entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Providence.

If incarcerated, Maselli may not be able to continue making the mortgage payments. But that’s not the issue, says U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha.

“Whether the victimized banks ultimately suffered a loss is irrelevant,” he stated. “What matters is that Mr. Maselli’s fraudulent manipulation of the mortgage process exposed them to loss.”

He also said he found it particularly disturbing that Maselli used his expertise as a real estate lawyer to perpetrate the crimes, the article reports.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Real Estate Attorney Indicted re $1.5M in Personal Loans His Lawyer Says Are Paid Up”

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