Christopher Brecciano, an attorney in Stamford, Connecticut, has pleaded guilty in Bridgeport federal court to conspiring to defraud financial institutions through an extensive mortgage fraud scheme that involved dozens of Connecticut properties.
According to court documents and statements made in court, between 2006 and 2010, Brecciano, while working as an associate at a Stamford law firm, participated in a mortgage fraud conspiracy that involved the purchase of numerous single and multi-family properties, primarily in Bridgeport, Norwalk, and Stamford. The government asserted that Brecciano acted as a closing attorney for at least 50 mortgage loan transactions in which materially false information was provided to mortgage lenders by Brecciano or his co-conspirators. According to prosecutors, the fraudulent information included false verifications of down payments for real estate transactions, false deeds, and false HUD-1 Forms. In many of the transactions, Brecciano knew that the borrower was a straw buyer and that other individuals intended to control the property and collect rent from the property, the government contended. Moreover, in many transactions, Brecciano distributed mortgage loan funds to the straw buyer and other co-conspirators at the closing, according to the charges.
The government said that many of these properties ended up in foreclosure or in short sale transactions.
In pleading guilty, Brecciano admitted that he also was involved in many short sale transactions in which he knew that the buyer and seller were working together to retain control of the property while representing to the lender that the sale was an arm’s length transaction.
The government said that, through this scheme, lenders suffered losses of more than $7 million.
Brecciano pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall on May 7, 2014, and faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years.
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