Guilty plea in $6M mortgage fraud scheme

A former executive with a Manhattan title policy firm admitted yesterday in Manhattan Federal Court that he and a co-conspirator sought to steal $6 million through a scheme that included raiding escrow accounts that were intended to pay off mortgages and taxes, authorities said.

Eric Koppelman, an officer with Aegis America, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, according to the office of the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan.

Co-conspirator Irshad Ramzan, a principal and loan officer at mortgage brokerage Platinum Funding in South Ozone Park, pleaded guilty in federal court in August 2009 to the same conspiracy charge.

Prosecutors said that while the scheme was in operation between 2004 and October 2005, Koppelman, 49, and Ramzan, 36, sought to pilfer $6 million in funds received from lenders that were supposed to be used to pay off loans after real estate closings.

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Instead they wrote checks to companies they controlled, authorities said.

Each faces up to 30 years in prison on the charges, authorities said. Koppelman’s sentencing is scheduled for May 25, while Ramzan is to be sentenced March 25, prosecutors said.

An ongoing civil lawsuit filed in 2005 in New York State Supreme Court by Florida-based Ticor Title Insurance on similar allegations identified Koppelman as director of operations at Aegis, a firm which performed the role of agent on behalf of Ticor at mortgage closings. TRD