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Obama’s New Mortgage Working Group As Yet To Materialize May 3, 2012

Posted by jefhenninger in News.
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Where is The New Mortgage Working Group?

President Obama promised the American public that he was committed to resolving the housing crisis and millions of homeowners facing foreclosure.  That was at the end of January.  Sixty three days later, we still do not have the formation and staffing of the Residential Mortgage Backed Securities Working Group. Mortgage fraud and many other factors lead us to the current housing crisis.  Where is President Obama’s promised help?

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NJ woman gets 10 years for mortgage fraud December 20, 2008

Posted by jefhenningeresq in News.
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I’m sure the average citizen thinks this sentence is great.  However, as a criminal defense attorney, I have a real problem with the outcome of this case.

In June, Crystal Velitschkow pleaded guilty to second degree State money laundering charges.  Although the plea called for 10 years, the range is 5 to 10 years.  Thus, in order for the judge to give her 10 years, he would have to find that the aggravating factors strongly outweigh the mitigating factors.  Even though she had no record (I assume)  and she flipped on her boyfriend, she still got the 10 years!  Her attorney only asked for 7. 

As always, I know next to nothing about this case, but I just can’t imagine a situation where I would have told my client to take this plea.  I also don’t understand why her attorney did not ask for 3 years.  While the range is 5 to 10, the just could go as low as 3 years if there were a lot of mitigating factors present.  The whole situation makes no sense to me.

The State alleged that she conspired with her boyfriend Spiro Pollatos, ran numerous scams to steal more than $2.7 million.  Pollatos targeted victims in the Greek community by advertising his mortgage company in a Greek newspaper.  He offered to secure loans for victims and then charged clients excessive loan commissions and fees.  One part of the scam involved mortgaging homes well beyond their value while another part involved him keeping money that was suppose to be used for a down payment. 

Another one of his scams that he perpetrated involved the Yellow Rose Diner in Keyport, New Jersey.  He found a victim to secure $500,000 in loans to invest in the diner.  The sale was never completed and the victim lost all of this money.

Pollatos has also pled guilty and he is on track to get 15 years even though he was the mastermind and has a prior record.   I have a client right now that was in the same type of situation Velitschkow was.  Although it appears my client has a better case and involved only about one-third of the the money (1 million as opposed to almost 3), my client stands to come out far better than Velitschkow.  I hope to tell you about it soon.

The story is here.