Guilty pleas in mortgage fraud case

By Adam Pincus | June 03, 2008 07:04PM

Two men admitted to defrauding homeowners facing foreclosure, as well as banks and other lenders, in a scheme involving at least 80 mortgages valued at more than $20 million, according to the office of the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan.

Prosecutors charged Maurice McDowall, 49, and Aleksander Lipkin, 29, with a plot to target homeowners, primarily in Brooklyn and the Bronx, who were threatened with losing their homes between November 2003 and April 2005.

McDowell, who coordinated the operation, and Lipkin, a mortgage broker, convinced victims that they could save their homes by arranging for a straw purchaser to take title to the house after taking out a new, larger mortgage, according to an indictment.

Few payments were made on the properties, and most of them were foreclosed on, at times leading to the eviction of the former homeowners, authorities said.

Lipkin also pleaded guilty to defrauding numerous subprime mortgage lenders in an alleged conspiracy involving mortgage brokers at AGA Capital NY Inc. and its successor Lending Universe Corporation, and Northside Capital NY Inc. in Brooklyn between 2004 and 2007. The companies brokered more than 1,000 home mortgages and home equity loans valued at least $200 million, prosecutors said.
McDowell pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, and faces up to 30 years in prison at his sentencing scheduled for September 9.

Lipkin pleaded to one count of conspiracy to commit mail, wire and bank fraud, and also faces 30 in prison, at his sentencing scheduled for October 10.

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