Long Island Mortgage Scam

In March of this year, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice arrested seventeen people pursuant to a two-year investigation involving a $20 million dollar mortgage fraud scam. Homeowners of Nassau County and banks lost more than $20 million dollars pursuant to the scam.

The individuals involved were lawyers, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, bank employees, financial consultant, an appraiser and a United States postal worker. Twenty nine homes were fraudulently purchased during the six year period. The homes all went into foreclosure. Fake buyers and fake sellers were involved in the transactions.

Identity Theft

Celso Benalcazar, a forty-nine year old Bronx mechanic, had his identity stolen. After his identity was stolen, two homes were purchased in his name. The ring leaders of this scam were James R. Sweet and Dwanye Benjamin, both of Westbury, New York. They recruited friends and family members to obtain false identities. They then impersonated buyers and sellers. As a result of these fake transactions, they kept all of the proceeds from the mortgages. Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice stated, “at the closing everything was fake except for the money that was stolen.”

One Home Purchased Twice

A home in West Hempstead was purchased twice during a two week period in 2005. A $390,000 mortgage was taken out each time the home was purchased. All the funds from both transactions were stolen.

The accused in this case faced up to twenty-five years in prison. There are numerous pending criminal charges, including violating the New York State Organized Crime Law, money laundering and conspiracy.

New York and Long Island Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you are being investigated with regard to a crime, or either you or a loved one is charged with a crime, we can help you. For more than thirty years, the Law Office of Elliot S. Schlissel has represented individuals charged with all types of misdemeanors and felonies. We defend clients who are charged with drug offenses, domestic violence, shoplifting, burglary, driving while intoxicated (DWI), weapons possession, sex crimes, white collar crimes and all types of violent crimes. We also represent juveniles in both the Criminal Courts and the Family Courts. Call us for a free consultation at 516-561-6645, 1-800-344-6431 or 718-350-2802.

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